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Open Access Research article

An analysis of risk factors of non-fatal drowning among children in rural areas of Guangdong Province, China: a case-control study

Wen Jun Ma*, Shao Ping Nie, Hao Feng Xu, Yan Jun Xu, Xiu Ling Song, Qiao Zhi Guo and Yu Run Zhang

Author Affiliations

Department of Non-communicable Disease Control and Prevention, Center for Disease Control and Prevention of Guangdong Province, China

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BMC Public Health 2010, 10:156  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-156

Published: 25 March 2010

Abstract

Background

Drowning is a major cause of morbidity and mortality for children, yet non-fatal drowning remains poorly understood. The aim of this study was to explore potential modifiable risk factors of non-fatal drowning among children in rural areas of China.

Methods

A cross-sectional survey was first conducted to obtain non-fatal drowning cases, and 7432 students in grades three to eight from 17 schools participated in the cross sectional survey. Of these, 805 students reported that they experienced non-fatal drowning in the previous year. Then 368 cases were selected randomly to participate in a 1:1 matched case-control study. Each drowning case was matched by one control with the same sex and similar age (the gap less than 2 years) who was selected randomly from the same class.

Results

Boys were more likely to be involved in non-fatal drowning. Non-fatal drowning most often happened in the afternoon (65.1%) and natural bodies of water were the most common sites of drowning (71.1%). Swimming, diving and playing in natural waters were the leading activities that preceded non-fatal drowning. The significant risk factors for non-fatal drowning were swimming in natural waters without adult supervision (OR = 3.40, 95% CI: 1.92-6.03), playing in or beside natural waters (OR = 2.08, 95% CI: 1.17-3.70) and poor swimming skills (OR = 2.74, 95% CI: 1.14-6.62). However, the following variables were protective factors: supervisor aged 30 years or over (OR = 0.20, 95% CI: 0.09-0.49) and no water activities (OR = 0.36, 95% CI: 0.18-0.70).

Conclusions

The reduction in dangerous water activities, swimming training and enhancement in supervision among children might decrease the risk of non-fatal drowning.