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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Arizona drowning fatalities: A look at trends in 1995-2002

Mary E. Rimsza, MD, School of Health Management and Policy, Arizona State University, Box 874506, Tempe, AZ 85287-4506, (480) 965-1622, Mary.Rimsza@asu.edu and Susan Newberry, Child Fatality Review Program, Arizona Department of Health Services, 2927 North 35th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85017.

Background: Drowning is one of the leading preventable causes of death for Arizona children. Recommendations to prevent pediatric drowning include adult supervision no further than arms length and 4-sided fences around pools regardless of other barriers. Although an Australian study demonstrated a 3 fold increased risk of drowning without a 4-sided fence, there have been no similar studies in the United States. Methods: We reviewed data from the Arizona Child Fatality Review Program (ACFR) on drowning fatalities, which occurred from 1995-2002. The data was analyzed to determine the site of the drowning and preventable risk factors. For children who drowned in backyard pools, the presence and adequacy of pool fencing was assessed. The ACFR program database includes the child’s death certificate, hospital records, autopsy report, law enforcement reports and an accident report that is completed by first responders. The accident report includes information on pool fencing, gates, gate locks and supervision of the child. Results: From 1995-2002, 307 Arizona children died due to drowning. Approximately 70% (210/307) of drowning deaths occurred in children < 5 years old. Among these 210 children, 133 (63%) drowned in a private swimming pool. Only 7 of these deaths occurred in a pool that was adequately fenced and had a self-locking gate. Conclusions: Despite media campaigns and anticipatory guidance by physicians, most drowning deaths that occurred in swimming pools involved inadequately secured fences and inadequate supervision. Further interventions are needed to improve caretaker education about swimming pool fences and supervision.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Death, Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Child and Adolescent Injuries

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA