Awarded New Investigator/Doctoral Dissertation Grant

Oceanfront Injury Prevention

FOA Number: CE03-027 – New Investigator Training Awards for Injury Research
Project Period: 9/1/2003 – 8/31/2005
Application/Grant Number: 1 R49 CE323139-01
Principal Investigator: Charles W. Pruitt, MD
Eastern Virginia Medical School
Norfolk, VA


Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury and the fourth leading cause of fatal injury among children. To date, there are few studies that analyze the role of beach-related injuries in the spectrum of childhood injury and death. Furthermore, interventions to decrease beach injury have not been evaluated for efficacy, possibly due to a lack of quantitative measures of beach safety. The objective of this project is to decrease the overall childhood morbidity and mortality by creating a community injury prevention model to reduce beach-related injury risk behavior and disseminate the model to a national audience. In order to reduce drowning and other water-related injuries among children, the investigator will develop a multifaceted education intervention using a local working group composed of members of an existing successful coalition that has experience changing behavior at the community level. In addition, the investigator will develop quantitative measures of injury risk that can be used to evaluate the success of the intervention. Lastly, the investigator will conduct a pilot study of the intervention and safe beach indices by comparing outcomes before, during, and after implementation of the intervention at a single oceanfront beach in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

The project has three aims:

  • to develop a Safe Beach intervention with the goal of decreasing beach-related injuries and injury risk behavior of children and their parents;
  • to develop and validate quantifiable measures of beach safety including population density, and environmental and behavioral assessment tools; and
  • to disseminate data concerning the effectiveness of the Safe Beach intervention to southeastern Virginia and other regions of the country.

The primary outcome is to determine the effectiveness of a community-based coalition injury prevention model in decreasing childhood morbidity and mortality due to drowning and other beach-related injuries.