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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1450; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121450

Improving Pool Fencing Legislation in Queensland, Australia: Attitudes and Impact on Child Drowning Fatalities

1
College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD 4811, Australia
2
Royal Life Saving Society—Australia, Broadway, NSW 2007, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 September 2017 / Revised: 21 November 2017 / Accepted: 22 November 2017 / Published: 24 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Child Injury Prevention 2017)
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Abstract

Four-sided, non-climbable pool fencing is an effective strategy for preventing children from drowning in home swimming pools. In 2009, the Queensland Government introduced legislation to improve the effectiveness of pool fencing. This study explores community attitudes towards the effectiveness of these legislative changes and examines child (<5 years) drowning deaths in pools. Data from the 2011 Queensland Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) Social Survey include results from questions related to pool ownership and pool fencing legislation. Fatal child drowning cases between 1 January 2005 and 31 December 2015 were sourced from coronial data. Of the 1263 respondents, 26/100 households had a pool. A total of 58% believed tightening legislation would be effective in reducing child drowning deaths. Pool owners were more likely to doubt the effectiveness of legislation (p < 0.001) when compared to non-pool owners. Perceptions of effectiveness did not differ by presence of children under the age of five. There were 46 children who drowned in Queensland home pools (7.8/100,000 pools with children residing in the residence/annum) between 2005 and 2015. While pool owners were less likely to think that tightening the legislation would be effective, the number of children drowning in home swimming pools declined over the study period. Drowning prevention agencies have more work to do to ensure that the most vulnerable (young children in houses with swimming pools) are protected. View Full-Text
Keywords: drowning prevention; child drowning; injury prevention; engineering; pool fencing; epidemiology; hierarchy of controls; social ecological model; health promotion drowning prevention; child drowning; injury prevention; engineering; pool fencing; epidemiology; hierarchy of controls; social ecological model; health promotion
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Franklin, R.C.; Peden, A.E. Improving Pool Fencing Legislation in Queensland, Australia: Attitudes and Impact on Child Drowning Fatalities. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 1450.

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