In 2016–2017 there were 29 drowning deaths in children aged 0–4 years at aquatic locations across Australia. Keep Watch is a state-wide, collaborative and comprehensive health promotion program that aims to reduce the incidence of fatal and non-fatal drowning among children aged 0 to 4 years in Western Australia (WA). This paper reports on the evaluation of the mass media campaign over a 5 year period.
Evaluation of the Keep Watch mass media campaign (including television advertisements, radio, Facebook) comprised a cross-sectional, online survey of WA parents aged 18 plus. Data was collected at five time-points from December 2014 – February 2017 (T1-T4). In November 2017 a new media campaign was launched and T5 data will be analysed and presented in 2018.
In T1-T4 respondents were predominately female, aged 25 to 44, lived in metropolitan Perth, with a tertiary degree. The sample ranged from n=448 to n=663 over the five time points. Television advertisements were the most frequently recalled medium (T1-T4). Unprompted recall of the campaign increased over time (T1 74.1% vs T4 78.5%). Recognition via Facebook particularly increased at T3 (27.5%) and T4 (41.1%). Prompted recognition remained constant from T3 – T4 increasing to almost half of respondents (46.2%). More than half of respondents (T4) 58.6% stated that that they considered doing something as a result of seeing the advertisements.
The study found the majority of respondents recalled child water safety advertising in the past six months, and found it believable, easy to understand, and personally relevant. Mass media continues to be an efficient method to disseminate drowning prevention messages in WA, with television being particularly relevant. However, as the media landscape continues to evolve, it is crucial less traditional platforms are considered in future iterations of the campaign to reach the target audience.
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