Although significant progress has been made in reducing drowning in children aged 0-4 years, deaths among children remain high relative to other age groups, particularly in the second year of life as children become more mobile. Research shows that there are eight non-fatal drowning incidents for every death among children aged 0-4 years, the highest fatal to non-fatal drowning ratio of any age group.
Toddlers are curious and increasingly mobile but lack an understanding of water-related hazards, making them vulnerable to drowning in and around the home, particularly in private swimming pools and dams on rural properties. Parental and carer supervision is considered critical to preventing drowning, so educating each new generation is a high priority. Barriers to water, usually in the form of swimming pool fencing, are a well-accepted and effective approach.
Preventing drowning in children aged 0-4 years is a priority because young children continue to experience high rates of drowning, despite there being clear and effective prevention measures.