Reporting of water safety policy measures in 17 European Countries to advance water safety and reduce childhood drowning

TitleReporting of water safety policy measures in 17 European Countries to advance water safety and reduce childhood drowning
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsVincenten, J, Mackay, M, Norman, N
Conference NameWorld Conference on Drowning Prevention
Date Published09/2007
PublisherInternational Life Saving Federation
Conference LocationPorto, Portugal
Other Numbers02-29
Abstract

Context: Drowning is the second leading cause of death for children in Europe. Yet childhood drowning is preventable. The most effective prevention strategies are those which combine public health policies with well-designed products and environments, and are further supported by broad educational campaigns.

Methods: As part of a broader project to develop child safety action plans in Europe, a series of effective water safety policy measures were identified. National child injury prevention experts collected information through government liaisons on current water safety policies in their country.

Results: 17 European countries reported on 10 effective policies related to child water safety and drowning prevention. Policies reported relate to enforcement of pool fencing, lifeguard presence and re-certification, pool design, safety signage, swimming lessons within school curriculum, PFD usage, and supervision ratios for public events. Results for each policy measure will be presented.

Discussion/Implications: The policy measures most adopted are tied to a related European Union legislative requirement or are in the process of international standardisation. Countries with high water exposure and higher drowning rates have not adopted more policies. Proof of drowning prevention measures has not been enough motivation to ensure adoption at the country level and thus further advocacy work is required.