Arch Dis Child doi:10.1136/adc.2009.179648
  • Original article

Reported care giver strategies for improving drinking water for young children

  1. Ashley Farrelly2
  1. 1University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada
  2. 2London University of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr John D McLennan, TRW Building, 3rd Floor, 3280 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta, T2N 4Z6, Canada; jmclenna{at}
  • Accepted 13 April 2010
  • Published Online First 22 June 2010


Objectives Care givers may engage in a variety of strategies to try and improve drinking water for children. However, the pattern of these efforts is not well known, particularly for young children in high-risk situations. The objective of this study was to determine care giver-reported strategies for young children with (1) undernutrition and (2) living in an unplanned poor peri-urban community in the Dominican Republic.

Methods Practices reported by care givers of young children from a community and clinic group were extracted from interviews conducted between 2004 and 2008 (n = 563). These results were compared to two previous similar samples interviewed in 1997 (n = 341).

Results Bottled water is currently the most prevalent reported strategy for improving drinking water for young children. Its use increased from 6% to 69% in the community samples over the last decade and from 13% to 79% in the clinic samples. Boiling water continues to be a common strategy, particularly for the youngest children, though its overall use has decreased over time. Household-level chlorination is infrequently used and has dropped over time.

Conclusions Care givers are increasingly turning to bottled water in an attempt to provide safe drinking water for their children. While this may represent a positive trend for protecting children from water-transmitted diseases, it may represent an inefficient approach to safe drinking water provision that may place a financial burden on low-income families.


  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Bioethics Committee of the University of Calgary and IRB Committee of the University of Pittsburgh.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Free sample

This recent issue is free to all users to allow everyone the opportunity to see the full scope and typical content of ADC.
View free sample issue >>

Don't forget to sign up for content alerts so you keep up to date with all the articles as they are published.

Navigate This Article