Curriculum and Instruction | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Exercise Physiology | Exercise Science | Health and Physical Education | Kinesiology | Leisure Studies | Public Health | Sports Sciences | Sports Studies


Drowning is a public health concern that disproportionally affects children and minorities in Washington State. Community health educators from Seattle Children’s Hospital designed a Water Safety Education and Lifejacket Giveaway Program for low-income parents of preschool-aged children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. The program was interpreted into multiple languages and parents and children in attendance received free lifejackets. The mixed-methods pilot evaluation of this program found statistically significant relationships between language and self-reported parent swim skill level (English-speaker OR 4.6; 95%CI: 1.84 – 11.54); and confidence of keeping one’s child safe (English-speaker OR 3.34; 95%CI: 1.10 – 10.4). Additionally, parents who self-reported that they could swim had four times the odds of feeling confident in keeping their children safe around the water (95% CI: 1.21 - 13.28). Qualitative data from follow-up interviews identified that the program boosted parent knowledge and confidence in safe water practices. Multi-lingual delivery and the role of partner preschools was critical to this program’s success. Specific programmatic focus on adult parent/caregiver skills and knowledge that reduce risk around the water should be a priority for future efforts to reduce drowning.