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What does ‘Keep Watch’ mean to migrant parents? Examining differences in supervision, cardiopulmonary resuscitation training and water familiarisation



Drowning is a public health challenge. Children of migrants may be at increased risk as parents may be unaware of local water safety issues. This study explores differences between Australian-born and migrant parents in Western Australia for: (1) swimming ability; (2) supervision; (3) water familiarisation; and (4) cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training.


A cross-sectional survey of parents and carers of children aged under 5 years residing in WA (n = 1506) captured demographics, knowledge of appropriate supervision, water safety knowledge and skills. Logistic regression was conducted.


Migrants were significantly less likely to identify adequate supervision (p = 0.004); have participated in child water familiarisation programmes (p = 0.000); or perceived themselves as able swimmers (p = 0.000). Significantly less migrants had also undertaken CPR training (p = 0.000).


Findings add to the small but growing body of literature highlighting the importance of tailored drowning prevention strategies for migrants in countries such as Australia with a strong aquatic culture.

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This study is supported in part by funding from the Royal Life Saving Society Western Australia Inc. (Grant Number CO6283). Views articulated in this article are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the funding agency.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Malena Della Bona.

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Ethical approval

This study was approved by the Curtin University Human Ethics Committee (Approval No. HR201/2014).

Conflict of interest

LN was responsible for the delivery of and securing future funding for the child injury prevention intervention described in this study. There are no other conflicts of interest to declare.

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Della Bona, M., Crawford, G., Nimmo, L. et al. What does ‘Keep Watch’ mean to migrant parents? Examining differences in supervision, cardiopulmonary resuscitation training and water familiarisation. Int J Public Health 64, 755–762 (2019).

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  • Migrant
  • Country of birth
  • Drowning prevention
  • Swimming ability
  • Supervision
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • Public health
  • Health promotion