Investigating the spatial clustering of drowning events in the United Kingdom: a geospatial cross-sectional study

Matthew Hobbs, Samuel Hills, Lukas Marek, Michael J. Tipton, Martin Barwood

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Globally, drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional injury death, accounting for 7% of all injury-related deaths. This study aimed to examine the spatial clustering in UK drowning incidents. Data were obtained from the Water Incident Database (WAID) (1/1/2012–31/12/19). We examined spatial
clustering of intentional and unintentional drownings using a density-based spatial clustering of applications with the noise method (DBSCAN). Intentional and unintentional events were delineated to establish thresholds for cluster identification for moderate, high and very high priority areas respectively,
all within a 500-metre radius (i.e., 5-7 minute walk) of the water network. We identified 2 very high priority (minPts 8), 5 high priority (minPts 6) and 21 moderate priority (minimum points [minPts] 4) areas for unintentional drowning. This study also identified 4 very high priority (minPts 16), 16 high priority
(minPts 8) and 36 moderate priority (minPts 4) areas for intentional drownings. Our findings serve to identify priority spatial locations, which provide important foundations for drowning prevention interventions. Prevention efforts should now consider the wider determinants of drowning in these areas, including accounting for the evident spatial patterns in drowning events. Our study addresses key priorities of United Nations and World Health Organisation’s drowning prevention guidelines.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103006
JournalApplied Geography
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2023


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