Drowning risk and prevention in minority communities

TitleDrowning risk and prevention in minority communities
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsDr. Quan, MD, L, Bennett, E
Conference NameWorld Conference on Drowning Prevention
Date Published09/2007
PublisherInternational Life Saving Federation
Conference LocationPorto, Portugal
Other Numbers02-44

Context: In many countries, minorities have the highest drowning rates. These racial/ethnic disparities in drowning risks are unexplained. In Washington State, USA, Asian children/teens had the highest pediatric drowning rates.

Methods: Focus groups were conducted with Vietnamese parents and teenagers to discern their beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors around recreational water. This information drove development of a community based intervention.

Project/Partners: Seattle Parks Department, Vietnamese Professionals Society, Department of Health

Results: Focus groups lacked prevention beliefs, familiarity, skills, or safe supervision of children around recreational waters, and limited financial resources. From this we

  1. developed key prevention messages:
    1. Get water-related skills (swimming and familiarity)
    2. use lifeguarded settings and
    3. life jackets
  2. translated and disseminated these messages with locations of lifeguarded beaches and life jacket loaner programs, images of Asian families in safe recreational water settings via Vietnamese media and posters;
  3. held Vietnamese family swim pool sessions,
  4. recruited Asians for lifeguard/aquatic personnel training, and
  5. translated letters and vouchers for free swim lessons for 3rd and 4th graders;
  6. taught water safety in Vietnamese language schools. Evaluation involves surveys conducted before and after the intervention in the community and a control city.

Implications: This project could be a model drowning intervention for specific high risk minorities.

Learning Outcomes
  1. Understand some of the issues that immigrant communities have related to water safety.
  2. Identify three beliefs that impact drowning risk among the Vietnamese community.
  3. List at least two ways to incorporate focus group findings into targeted interventions.
  • Quan L, Crispin B, Bennett E, Gomez A. Beliefs and practices to prevent drowning among Vietnamese-American adolescents and parents. Injury Prevention. 2006; 12(6):427-429.