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Abstract

Swimming is an integral part of the Australian lifestyle. Studies have examined drowning fatalities in public and residential swimming pools and the potential factors involved, but there is little evidence detailing the extent of injuries that occur in public pools. This paper describes the types of injuries that occur at public pools, the locations within pools where injuries occur, the type of medical treatment required and the rate of injury. Incident reports were collected from 18 public pools across metropolitan and regional Victoria, Australia. Over 6 months, 1,715 injuries were recorded, representing an injury rate of 142.2 per 100,000 pool visits. The highest proportion of injuries occurred in children aged 5-14 years, accounting for 50% of all injuries. The injuries were typically minor cuts, bruises and grazes. Individuals were usually involved in water recreation or swimming lessons when the injury occurred. The study demonstrated that the role of the lifeguard is much more than providing supervision and performing rescues.

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