The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) just issued its July 4th Pool Safety Reminder, noting that prior July 4th drownings should serve as a warning this Independence Day.
CPSC Chairman, Inez Tenenbaum, urges parents and children to enjoy the pool, but to remember to ‘Pool Safely’ over holiday and reminds parents and caregivers about the dangers that swimming pools and spas can present.
“Along with fireworks, spending time in the pool is a traditional July 4th activity for many families,” Chairman Tenenbaum said. “Child drownings are a preventable tragedy, so we encourage all families who are planning to spend time in pools and spas over the Independence Day holiday and all summer to adopt as many safety steps as possible. You never know which safety step will save a life—until it does.”
According to analysis of media reports by USA Swimming, the national governing body for the sport of swimming, in 2011, there were 25 drowning incidents that involved children under the age of 15 and reported over the July 4th holiday. For the purposes of these statistics, the holiday includes June 30 through July 6. In 2010, 24 drowning incidents were reported during that week.
The CPSC reports that, each year, some 390 pool or spa-related drownings involving children younger than 15 are reported. Another 5,200 children in the same age range are treated in hospital emergency rooms for near-drowning injuries. Sadly, an unknown number of children are seriously brain-damaged in pool and spa accidents.
CPSC’s Pool Safely campaign (www.PoolSafely.gov) is a national public education effort meant to reduce child drownings, near-drownings, and entrapments in swimming pools and spas. The campaign’s message—Simple Steps Save Lives—includes easy water steps that could help families avoid a tragedy this holiday and includes:
Staying Close, Being Alert and Watching Children in and Around the Pool
- Never leave a child unattended in a pool or spa; always watch children, who are around any body of water, closely
- Teach children basic water safety tips
- Keep children away from pool drains, pipes, and other openings, to avoid entrapments
- Have a telephone handy when you or your family are using a pool or spa
- If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first
- Share safety instructions with family, friends, and neighbors
Learning and Practicing Water Safety Skills
• Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim
• Learn how to perform CPR on children and adults; update CPR skills regularly
• Understand life-saving basics so that you can assist in a pool emergency
Having the Appropriate Equipment for Your Pool or Spa
- Install a four-foot, or taller, fence around the pool and spa and use self-closing and -latching gates; ask your neighbors to do the same at their pools
- Install and use a lockable safety cover on your spa
- Maintain and use pool and spa covers that are in good working order
- If your house serves as a fourth side of a fence around a pool, install and use a door or pool alarm
- Ensure that any pool and spa you use has drain covers that comply with federal standards; speak to your pool service provider if you are unsure
- Keep lifesaving equipment, such as life rings, floats, or a reaching pole available and easily accessible