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Section 3 - Measuring the data

Data sources

Data were obtained from the Water Incident Database (WAID) and the Child Death Review Programme (CDRP). WAID is web-based data collection, gathering water-related incident data from a wide range of sources within the UK search and rescue region for all ages.

A more detailed description of the system can be found at   CDRP collects information on deaths of children under 18 years of age, it includes all deaths (or events that lead to death) that occur in Wales, and deaths of Welsh-resident children who die outside of Wales.

A more detailed description can be found at  Data between the WAID and CDRP databases were cross referenced and cleaned for children under 18 years of age. 

Data analysis

Inclusion criteria:  water-related fatalities in children and people under 25 years of age between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2022 where the event leading to death occurred in Wales (or occurred outside of Wales in children under 18 years of age). 

The main analysis of data in this report was based on non-intentional (‘accidental’ or natural causes) water-related fatalities that occurred in Wales from 2013 to 2022 and described the characteristics in terms of time, person, and place.  Where appropriate, the mean (average) number of cases and standard deviation were calculated. It is expected that a number is within one standard deviation above or below the mean two thirds of the time. This gives a measure of whether there are counts or trends of concern.

It was not possible to calculate rates as the denominator was unknown as some of the children and young people were non-Welsh residents.  The average annual population for comparison of the proportion of fatalities in each age group compared with the proportion of children and young people in each group in the population used Welsh population data as a proxy measure, even though it is noted that not all the fatalities were Welsh residents.

Intentional water-related fatalities, and fatalities of Welsh resident children that occurred outside Wales were briefly described.

Strengths and limitations 


  • Data from two different sources, CDRP and WAID, were used for fatalities under 18 years of age, which enabled cross referencing of data and cleaning of data for this age group.
  • Both CDRP and WAID are national level population-based registries. 


  • CDRP does not include data on children and young people 18 or over, so it was not possible to cross reference the data for the 18-24 years age group.
  • Data on ethnic group was only available for children under 18 years of age (via CDRP) but was around 50% incomplete therefore it was not possible to include in this report.
  • Data on area of residence was not available for the 18-24 years age group.
  • It was not possible to calculate the rate of water-related fatalities.
  • There were a relatively small number of fatalities, so caution needs to be exercised when drawing conclusions from the data. Changes in small numbers due to natural variation can lead to large percentage changes so may appear to be more significant than they are.