|Title||Safety Legislation: A pillar of Drowning Prevention|
|Publication Type||Conference Paper|
|Year of Publication||2007|
|Authors||Associate Professor Franklin, RC, Pearn, JH, Nixon, JW|
|Conference Name||World Conference on Drowning Prevention|
|Publisher||International Life Saving Federation|
|Conference Location||Porto, Portugal|
Four stratagems exist to reduce the drowning toll. Three are classified as primary prevention themes – education; design and ergonomics; and legislation. The fourth option, a form of secondary prevention, comprises improved rescue- resuscitation- retrieval interventions.
In this suite of approaches to improve water safety, legislation occupies a special and sometimes controversial place. On the one hand, legislation modifies individual freedom and liberty. However, Australian experience has shown that safety legislation – always last in the chronology of preventative interventions to combat new-recognised threats, is one of the most powerful stratagems to protect those vulnerable to drowning incidents.
The relative efficacy of safety legislation is site-specific bathtub drowning deaths, can not be reduced by legislation. By contrast, we have shown, in total population surveys via an audit of drowning deaths in Brisbane Australia, that child drowning rates can be halved if appropriate safety legislation is implemented and policed. Legislation incurs costs; but a cost-benefit analysis of Australian data indicates that effective legislation results in reduced cost-benefit ratios. In-particular, safety legislation to reduce drowning risks is particularly effective when combined with the other stratagems in coordinated approaches to protect the vulnerable.
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