New study investigating beliefs about portable pool safety behaviours among parents of young children

Examining the knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes surrounding portable pool safety behaviours of parents of children aged five years and younger is the focus of new Griffith University and Royal Life Saving Society – Australia research, which aims to understand how we can reduce the number of fatalities.

On average, one child per year drowns in a portable swimming pool in Australia and many more are hospitalised due to a non-fatal drowning. In the past 16 years, 20 children under the age of five have drowned in portable pools.

“We have a good understanding of drowning risk factors from coronial data but have never had the chance to speak to consumers and users of portable pools to find out how to better communicate drowning risk to this group,” said study leader Associate Professor Kyra Hamilton from Griffith’s Menzies Health Institute Queensland (MHIQ).

The collaborative study will interview 20 parents of children aged five years and younger who own a portable pool. Interviews will be confidential and will be done by phone.

“By participating in this study, you will be helping us to create better strategies to make portable pools safer for people who use them to enjoy.”

Potential participants can register their interest in participating in the study at bit.ly/2LX8xRX or can contact Jacob Keech via email at j.keech@griffith.edu.au

Participants will receive a department store gift voucher to thank them for their time.

“At Royal Life Saving, we are keen to hear more about the views of people who have purchased and use portable pools, including awareness of drowning risk and awareness of and attitudes towards fencing,” said Royal Life Saving Society – Australia National Manager Research & Policy, Amy Peden.

“We want to examine awareness of portable safety behaviours and we want to understand the suitability and effectiveness of current product safety labelling.”

“This will be an in-depth qualitative study, which will discuss with participants confidentially their portable pool safety knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours,” A/Prof Hamilton said.

“I think we will uncover rich and interesting insights as we really want to get a good understanding of what drives these behaviours and how we can promote greater safety and reduce drowning and injury around portable pools.”

“We have a strong culture around water in Australia, but as yet we do not have a lot of research around the attitudes towards water safety and this research will provide valuable information that can inform safety messages in the future.”

A/Prof Hamilton said the results of the study would be used to positively influence public education and advocacy work undertaken by Royal Life Saving aimed at drowning prevention around portable pools. It is also hoped it will address a key area of the Australian Water Safety Strategy that aims to reduce drowning in children under five.