Background Child drowning in LMICs has become a major new public health issue. Drowning is the leading cause of death in children 1–17 yrs in Bangladesh. The lifecycle approach addresses child drowning for each age group. For children aged 4–14 years one primary intervention component involves teaching survival swimming using the SwimSafe curriculum. Risk management protocols have been developed to safely train children younger than 6 yrs old and older children with conditions that place them at risk.
Methods Community-based Participatory Research is ongoing in a rural community under injury surveillance. The partners in the research are UBC, CIPRB, TASC and RLSSA. SwimSafe is one of a suite of interventions. Children have been classified in 4 risk categories: Normal risk, increased risk, high risk and extreme risk. Different protocols that address each level of risk are being tested. Evidence of safety and training effectiveness is accumulating that will allow increased scale without increased risk to participating children.
Results Risk management is a very important for the SwimSafe intervention. About 1 out of 3 children under 6 yrs of age are in the increased risk category. For those 6 years and older, about 1 in 8–10 are in the increased risk categories. Protocols are being tested that vary the instructor-child ratio, water depth, type of water body and presence of caretaker in the water with the child according to the level of increased risk for the child. Increased training for the swimming instructors, increased venue safety criteria, increased supervision and monitoring are being examined.
Conclusions Given the large proportion of the child population that is at increased risk when learning to swim, establishing risk management protocols that have evidence of safety is a priority for drowning prevention in Bangladesh and similar LMIC’s. The goal is to safely teach these children basic swimming as most of them are at increased risk of drowning in their daily lives.
- Drowning Prevention
- Survival Swimming
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