OBJECTIVES: To estimate the risk of drowning by different bodies of water in and near the home for children aged 1 to 4 years. SETTING: The Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara, Mexico. METHODS: A population case-control study. Cases (n=33) were children 1 to 4 years old who drowned at their home; controls (n=200) were a random sample of the general population. RESULTS: The risk of drowning for children whose parents reported having a water well at home was almost seven times that of children in homes without a water well (adjusted odds ratio (OR)=6.8, 95% confidence interval (CI)=2.2 to 20.5). Risk ratio estimates for other bodies of water were: swimming pools (OR=5.8, 95% CI=0.9 to 37.5), water barrel (OR=2.4, 95% CI=1.0 to 5.6), underground cistern (OR=2.1, 95% CI=0.8 to 5.2), and a basin front (courtyard pool to store water) of 35 or more litres (OR=1.8, 95% CI=0.8 to 4.4). CONCLUSION: Drowning at home is frequent in the Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara, but the causes are different from those reported in developed countries. Accordingly, the preventive strategies must also be different.
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