To investigate susceptible groups and risk factors for childhood drowning in the Netherlands with the aim of improving prevention campaigns.
Prospective and partly retrospective.
Information about drowning accidents in 2010 and 2011 was collected using two methods. Firstly, drowning – with or without a fatal outcome – was added to the list of conditions to be reported to the Netherlands Paediatric Surveillance Unit (NSCK). Paediatricians received a comprehensive questionnaire when they had reported on drowning. Additional information on drowning was collected from online media (news websites and online journals).
A total of 82 reports of drowning were analysed (63 from the paediatricians’ survey and 19 additional reports from online media). Twenty-three children died as a result of drowning in the Netherlands in 2010 and 2011. Fifty-four percent of all cases of drowning were in children younger than 4 years. Boys were victims in 71% of the cases. Half (51%) of the accidents happened because the parents or caregivers lost sight of the children. In 27% of cases the accident took place in or around the home. Twenty-one children (26%) were victims of drowning in a public swimming pool and 5 of these children died.
Better and continuous supervision of young children could help prevent more cases of drowning. Open water in proximity to the home should be fenced off. Continuous good supervision is also essential in public swimming pools.
Conflict of interest and financial support: ICMJE forms provided by the authors are available online along with the full text of this article. This study was financially supported by Stichting Kinderpostzegels Nederland.