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Tyebally A, Ang SY
Correspondence: Dr Arif Tyebally, email@example.com
Introduction The aim of this research was to study the epidemiology of paediatric near-drowning and drowning victims in Singapore so as to determine the risk factors that will guide drowning prevention strategies.
Methods A total of 38 children aged 0–16 years, who were managed in the Emergency Departments of the Singapore Health Services network or the Department of Forensic Medicine, Health Sciences Authority, for drowning and near-drowning between February 2002 and January 2004, were surveyed as part of the Childhood Injury Surveillance Project. Data on demographics, the location of injury, environmental factors and injury particulars was collected by means of questionnaire forms, review of the in-patient records and the coron-er’s reports.
Results A total of 38 drowning or near-drowning cases in Singapore were reported during the study period, with nine deaths. The median age of the victims was 6.3 years. 52.6 percent of the incidents occurred in swimming pools. 60 percent of the swimming pools had a lifeguard on duty, and all the deaths that occurred in swimming pools were in those without a lifeguard. In 39.5 percent of the cases, no safety features were present at the site of the incident. Most of the deaths by drowning occurred in the sea (55.5 percent).
Conclusion Deaths by drowning are preventable, and appropriate environmental redesign, legislation and public education are necessary to reduce the rate of paediatric drowning. The important factors that are lacking include the absence of pool fencing and lifeguards at swimming pools and recreational beaches.
Keywords: epidemiology, paediatric drowning, prevention, risk factors, water safety
Singapore Med J 2010; 51(5): 429-433