Are pregnant pool owners receptive to isolation fencing installation?

TitleAre pregnant pool owners receptive to isolation fencing installation?
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsGirasek, DC
Conference NameWorld Conference on Drowning Prevention
Date Published09/2007
PublisherInternational Life Saving Federation
Conference LocationPorto, Portugal
Other Numbers02-31
Abstract

Context: Florida has the highest rate of early childhood drowning in United States. For 1-4 year olds, the state’s drowning rate is almost 2 and a half times the national average. Most of these drownings occur in residential swimming pools. This study was carried out in Broward and Miami/Dade counties, the two Florida counties with the highest number of unintentional drownings among children under the age of five.

Methods: Pregnant pool owners were recruited from prenatal classes being offered at one of three hospitals. After having provided informed consent, study volunteers were asked to complete a brief survey instrument. The questionnaire explored their attitudes toward drowning risk and drowning prevention methods. We were particularly interested in their views on isolation pool fencing, which is the only proven method of drowning prevention.

Results: Sixty percent (n=69) of eligible women agreed to participate in our study. Despite the fact that 74% of those women were in their 3rd trimester of pregnancy, only 8% had installed an isolation fencing around their pools. Eighty-four percent of our study volunteers reported being “worried that their child could drown,” but a majority also endorsed the following potential barriers to fence installation: a belief that pool fencing, pool covers and pool alarms are “all about equally effective,” poor understanding of the potential severe outcomes that can result from submersions, and the belief that making pool safety improvements would be expensive.

Implications: The results of this study could be used to design tailored programs that encourage pool owners with young children to install isolation fencing.

Learning Outcomes
  1. Session attendees will be able to identify barriers that might prevent parents from installing isolation fencing around their pools.
  2. Session attendees will be able to identify commonly held parental beliefs that support the installation of isolation pool fencing.
  3. Session attendees will be able to identify subgroups of parents who are at particular risk for not installing isolation fencing around their pools.