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Inj Prev doi:10.1136/ip.2010.028688
  • Original Article

Association between wearing a personal floatation device and death by drowning among recreational boaters: a matched cohort analysis of United States Coast Guard data

  1. L Quan2
  1. 1Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center and the Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
  2. 2Seattle Children's Hospital and Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr P Cummings, 250 Grandview Drive, Bishop, CA 93514, USA; peterc{at}uw.edu
  1. Contributors All authors contributed to the conception and design, data acquisition, analysis and interpretation, as well as the manuscript preparation and final draft.

  • Accepted 20 August 2010
  • Published Online First 1 October 2010

Abstract

Objective To estimate the association between wearing a personal floatation device (PFD) and death by drowning among recreational boaters.

Design Matched cohort study analysis of Coast Guard data.

Setting United States.

Subjects Recreational boaters during 2000–2006.

Main outcome measures Risk ratio (RR) for drowning death comparing boaters wearing a PFD with boaters not wearing a PFD.

Results Approximately 4915 boater records from 1809 vessels may have been eligible for our study, but because of missing records and other problems, the analysis was restricted to 1597 boaters in 625 vessels with 878 drowning deaths. The adjusted RR was 0.51 (95% CI 0.35 to 0.74).

Conclusions If the estimated association is causal, wearing a PFD may potentially prevent one in two drowning deaths among recreational boaters. However, this estimate may be biased because many vessels had to be excluded from the analysis.

Footnotes

  • Funding This work was supported by grant 5R49CE000197-05 from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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