Risk factors for drowning and near-drowning among children in Hillsborough County, Florida

K. D. Liller, E. B. Kent, C. Arcari, R. J. McDermott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The authors obtained data from 700 households in Hillsborough County, FL, in a telephone random survey to determine risk factors for incidents of drowning and near-drowning among children in the county. The survey was conducted from August through December 1991. A combination of forced-choice and open-ended questions was used to assess adults' drowning-related knowledge, attitudes, and prevention behaviors, as well as the incidence of and the circumstances surrounding drowning and near-drowning among children who lived in those households. The results showed that although most respondents had some knowledge of the epidemiology of drowning and near- drowning among children, deficits were noted in their knowledge of the importance of adult supervision and the recommended age at which to begin children's swimming instruction. Results showed a need for isolation fencing, that which separates a swimming pool from a house and yard. Most respondents reported that they did not know how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on an infant or child. More than 40 percent reported not knowing how to perform CPR on an adult. Respondents reported no drowning or near-drowning incidents among children of their household within the last 3 years. However, the respondents did describe water-related immersions that involved children who experienced difficulty in the water, but recovered by themselves or with the aid of a nearby person. In some instances the child's breathing pattern was altered. There were three episodes during which difficulty in breathing occurred. The respondents reported a total of nine childhood water-immersion episodes within their families, none of which had been reported to treatment facilities. Recommendations are provided for programs for prevention of childhood drowning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-353
Number of pages9
JournalPublic Health Reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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