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Inj Prev. 2007 August; 13(4): 218–219.
PMCID: PMC2598329

Drowning prevention and knowledge transfer

When it was agreed in Atlanta to set up ISCAIP and Injury Prevention, one reason for doing so was to help us better understand injuries and transfer information about their prevention. In global terms, drowning is the quintessential child injury issue. It is strongly associated with child development and affects all countries. Current WHO estimates are that 186 000 children and young people under 20 drown each year,1 although some large‐scale community studies suggest that, at least in some parts of the world, this figure is low.2

Injury Prevention has published a surprising number of papers on this one topic, beginning with a classic by Pearn and Nixon.3 Others include a report on home drownings from Mexico4 and drowning and near‐drowning in Denmark.5 In 2000 we published a paper on toddler drownings in home pools6 and later another showing patterns in different age and ethnic groups.7,8 Other authors contributed by reporting on basic measurement tools, coding issues, and data collection methods.9,10,11 Asher et al12 examined water safety training as a means of prevention, and others did so using a variety of other approaches.13,14,15,16 Some authors contributed by focusing on the processes whereby changes are implemented,17 and still others by evaluating a program.18 Finally, there were studies exploring a particular risk factor such as alcohol.19,20

As is true for all other areas of injury, the journal has been challenged to extend the successes of first‐world situations in preventing drownings to low‐ and middle‐income countries.21 Although it has published several papers from these countries,22,23,24 it is evident that the journal has fallen well short of meeting the challenge.


1. World Health Organization Child and adolescent injury prevention: a global call to action. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2005
2. Rahman A. et alBangladesh health and injury survey. Report on children. Dhaka: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Please give the names and initials of 3 authors in ref 2., 2005
3. Pearn J H, Nixon J. Swimming pool immersion accidents: an analysis from the Brisbane Drowning Study. Inj Prev 1997. 3307–309.309 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
4. Celis A. Home drowning among preschool age Mexican children. Inj Prev 1997. 3252–256.256 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
5. Lindholm P, Steensberg J. Epidemiology of unintentional drowning and near‐drowning in Denmark in 1995. Inj Prev 2000. 629–31.31 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
6. Blum C, Shield J. Toddler drowning in domestic swimming pools. Inj Prev 2000. 6288–290.290 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
7. Quan L, Cummings P. Characteristics of drowning by different age groups. Inj Prev 2003. 9163–168.168 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
8. Quan L, Crispin B, Bennett E. et al Beliefs and practices to prevent drowning among Vietnamese‐American adolescents and parents. Inj Prev 2006. 12427–429.429 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
9. Smith G S, Langley J D. Drowning surveillance: how well do E codes identify submersion fatalities. Inj Prev 1998. 4135–139.139 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
10. Lunetta P, Penttilä A, Sajantila A. Drowning in Finland: “external cause” and “injury” codes. Inj Prev 2002. 8342–344.344 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
11. Baullinger J, Quan L, Bennett E. et al Use of Washington State newspapers for submersion injury surveillance. Inj Prev 2001. 7339–342.342 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
12. Asher K N, Rivara F P, Felix D. et al Water safety training as a potential means of reducing risk of young children's drowning. Inj Prev 995 1228–233.233 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
13. Smith G S. Drowning prevention in children: the need for new strategies. Inj Prev 1995. 1216–217.217 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
14. Fisher K J, Balanda K P. Caregiver factors and pool fencing: an exploratory analysis. Inj Prev 1997. 3257–261.261 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
15. Howland J, Birckmayer J, Hemenway D. et al Did changes in minimum age drinking laws affect adolescent drowning (1970–90)? Inj Prev 1998. 4288–291.291 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
16. Terzidis A. et al Water safety: age‐specific changes in knowledge and attitudes following a school‐based intervention. Inj Prev 2007. 13120–124.124 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
17. Morrison L, Chalmers D J, Langley J D. et al Achieving compliance with pool fencing legislation in New Zealand: a survey of regulatory authorities. Inj Prev 1999. 5114–118.118 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
18. Bennett E, Cummings E, Quan L. et al Evaluation of a drowning prevention campaign in King County, Washington. Inj Prev 1999. 5109–113.113 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
19. Driscoll T R, Harrison J A, Steenkamp M. Review of the role of alcohol in drowning associated with recreational aquatic activity. Inj Prev 2004. 10107–113.113 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
20. Howland J. et al Did changes in minimum age drinking laws affect adolescent drowning (1970–90)? Inj Prev 1998. 4288–291.291 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
21. Sethi D, Zwi A. Challenge of drowning prevention in low and middle income countries. Inj Prev 1998. 4162 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
22. Soori H, Naghavi M. Childhood deaths from unintentional injuries in rural areas of Iran. Inj Prev 998 4222–224.224 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
23. Kobusingye O, Guwatudde D, Lett R. Injury patterns in rural and urban Uganda. Inj Prev 2001. 746–50.50 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
24. Zhou Y, Baker T D, Rao K. et al Productivity losses from injury in China. Inj Prev 2003. 9124–127.127 [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from Injury Prevention are provided here courtesy of BMJ Publishing Group