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Why infants fall in the water

Tuesday, 05 March 2019

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PhD candidate Carolina Burnay from the School of Medical and Health Sciences won the People's Choice Award at Universities Australia's Pitch It Clever Competition.

Carolina's pitch

Preventing children from drowning and enhancing water safety are old and complex social challenges. It is a preventable killer that has been largely overlooked, and there are a number of areas where further research is urgently needed. Compared to adults, infants are at increased risk of falling into a body of water. In fact, most drowning incidents among babies occur due to falling in the water. Critical questions to ask, therefore, are when and why infants reach mature levels of behaviour around water?  How do infants learn to use the information offered by the water to adapt their behaviour and start avoiding falling in the water? We believe that by understanding how infants perceive and relate with bodies of water, we can underpin polices and guidelines that help prevent young children from drowning.

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