Big people know best: Changing parental perceptions of toddler water safety

TitleBig people know best: Changing parental perceptions of toddler water safety
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsDr Moran, K, Stanley, T
Conference NameWorld Conference on Drowning Prevention
Date Published09/2007
PublisherInternational Life Saving Federation
Conference LocationPorto, Portugal
Other Numbers02-33
Abstract

This paper reports on the findings of two studies that examine toddler water safety with particular reference to the perceptions of parents and instructors.

In the first study the primary objective was to examine parental perceptions on the role of toddler swimming ability and pre-school swimming lessons in drowning prevention.

The results showed that many parents have an overly optimistic view of the role of swimming ability and pre-school swimming lessons in drowning prevention. This was especially so for parents with toddlers enrolled in lessons.

The primary objective of the second study was to develop a parent education programme that addressed parental misconceptions of toddler water safety. Statistically significant improvements in parental understanding were evident after a 10-week poolside water safety programme.

This study suggests that toddler lessons in swim schools provide a valuable opportunity to address parental misconceptions about water safety. Both of the above studies have been published in Injury Control and Safety Promotion (2006). Further research is in progress to examine the attitudes of swim instructors towards toddler water safety, their perception to toddler drowning and their beliefs about their role in toddler drowning prevention.

Learning Outcomes
  1. The importance of parental education on water safety to assist in the prevention of toddler drowning.
  2. The role of swim schools in educating parents of toddlers on water safety.
  3. A template for swim schools to complete a parental water safety education programme.