Disparities in Adolescent Reported Drowning Prevention Strategies

Published:September 07, 2022DOI:



      Describe use of drowning prevention strategies among diverse adolescents.


      We analyzed 47,051 responses to 2012–2018 Washington statewide surveys of 8th–12th grade students, regarding formal swimming lessons, comfort in deep water (a measure of perceived water competency), and life jacket use in small watercraft. Using survey-weighted Poisson regression, we measured these strategies in relation to race/ethnicity, primary language, maternal education, and urbanicity.


      78.6% of students spoke English at home. Most students reported having had formal swimming lessons (62.2%), being comfortable in deep water (65.8%), and wearing life jackets (58.5%). Students primarily speaking Spanish (11.2%) reported formal swimming lessons (PR: 0.72; 95%CI: 0.67–0.78) and perceived water competency (PR: 0.75; 95%CI: 0.70–0.80) less often than primarily English-speaking. All prevention strategies were associated with higher maternal education.


      Drowning prevention strategies, access to swimming lessons, life jackets, and water competency should be promoted among low-income children and those whose primary language is not English.
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