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PW 0251 Toddler drowning prevention in western australia: comparing water safety practices and knowledge of parents born in australia and overseas
  1. Malena Della Bona1,
  2. Gemma Crawford1,
  3. Lauren Nimmo2,
  4. Justine E Leavy1
  1. 1Curtin University, Perth, WA, Australia
  2. 2Royal Life Saving Society Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia


Children of new migrants to high-income countries such as Australia are at increased risk of drowning. Little is known about migrant parents’ knowledge of drowning risk, supervision practice and resuscitation techniques. This study compares Australian born and migrant participants’ water safety practices and drowning prevention knowledge in a Western Australian (WA) context.

Evaluation comprised a cross-sectional, random sample of parents of children under five, residing in WA between 2014 and 2017 (n=1857). An online survey collected: country of birth (COB), age, gender, postcode, carer status, education level, swimming ability, completion of CPR training, awareness, comprehension and acceptance of campaign advertising, knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and intentions regarding water safety. Associations between migrant status and swimming ability, water familiarisation and CPR training were calculated using Pearson chi-square tests. An independent-samples t-test compared understanding of the likelihood of fatal drowning of young children.

There was a significant association between Australian born participants and ability to swim; appropriate supervision; completion of water familiarisation; CPR training, perceived ability to conduct CPR and knowledge of likelihood of drowning as a cause of death.

Differences were seen in the drowning-related beliefs, attitudes and behaviours of Western Australian parents. Migrants demonstrated less knowledge about risks and were less likely to have participated in water familiarisation with their children under 5 years of age. With an increasing proportion of Western Australians born overseas, a greater focus is required on prevention strategies for migrants to address drowning risk factors for both adults and the children in their care.

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