Statement of Purpose Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death for toddlers. Caregivers mediate drowning risk with preventative behaviors. Drowning prevention behavior is shaped by water safety knowledge. The aim of this study is to understand factors associated with water safety knowledge.
Methods/Approach An online Amazon MTurk survey of 650 adult caregivers of a 1–4 year old assessed water safety knowledge. A knowledge score summed the answers to ten true/false statements. Predictors of water safety knowledge were identified using multivariate linear regression.
Results On average, caregivers answered six out of ten questions correctly. Higher water safety knowledge was shown by female compared to male caregivers (p<0.001) and caregivers with a high school education compared to a bachelor’s degree (p=0.001) or advanced degree (p=0.013). Water safety knowledge was also predicted by race/ethnicity, with Asian caregivers showing the highest scores (p=0.011) and White caregivers scoring higher than Black caregivers (p<0.001). Water safety knowledge depended on the relationship of the caregiver to the toddler, with higher scores for parents compared to older siblings (p=0.002). Caregivers who had taken a CPR class scored higher than those who had not (p<0.001). Caregivers who reported keeping their toddler within arm’s reach while in a swimming pool had higher scores compared to caregivers who reported listening from a distance (p=0.002).
Conclusion This study highlights factors associated with caregiver water safety knowledge. Higher scores for caregivers with CPR training suggest training can increase water safety knowledge. Associations between supervision and knowledge indicate water safety training could help caregivers make safer supervision decisions.
Significance Results show a low level of knowledge about water safety and support the importance of drowning prevention education.
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