Inj Prev 2015 Jun 7;21(3):185-8. Epub 2015 Jan 7.
Centre for Injury Prevention Research, Bangladesh (CIPRB), Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Background: SwimSafe, a basic swimming and safe rescue curriculum, has been taught to large numbers of children in Bangladesh. Teaching swimming potentially increases risk if it increases water exposure or high-risk practices in water. This study compares water exposure and risk practices for SwimSafe graduates (SS) with children who learned swimming naturally.
Methods: Interviewers obtained detailed water exposure histories for the preceding 48 h from 3936 SS aged 6-14 and 3952 age-matched and sex-matched children who had learned swimming naturally. Frequencies of water exposure and water entries for swimming or playing were compared.
Results: There were 9741 entries into water among the 7046 participants in the 48 h prior to interview. About one-third (31.2%) had no water entries, one-tenth (10.5%) entered once, half (49.2%) entered twice and a tenth (9.1%) entered three or more times. Proportions of children in each group were similar. About 99.5% of both groups only entered the water for bathing. For those entering to swim or play, the mean number of entries was similar (SS 1.63, natural swimmer (NS) 1.36, p=0.40). Swimming or playing alone in the water was rare (1 SS, 0 NS).
Conclusions: Most water exposure for children is for bathing. Less than 1% swam or played in the water during the 48 h recall period (0.6% SS, 0.4% NS). Learning swimming in SwimSafe did not increase water exposure nor did it increase water entry for playing or swimming compared with children who learned to swim naturally.