Before the Independence Day holiday, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued its July 4th Pool Safety Reminder, noting that prior July 4th drownings should serve as a warning for this Independence Day. Now, the CPSC is renewing is earlier pool safety reminder in the face of 90 new child drownings.
The Commission’s “Pool Safely: Simple Steps Save Lives campaign”—which can be accessed at: www.poolsafely.gov–indicates that 90 children under the age of 15 were reported to have drowned in swimming pools since Memorial Day. Media reports also indicate that 106 more children in that age group required emergency response for near-drowning incidents.
These incidents, said the CPSC, are a sobering reminder of how a fun day at the pool can quickly turn tragic; the figures reveal that young children and toddlers are most vulnerable to drowning, with 72 percent of the children reported to have drowned since Memorial Day being under the age of five. Based on this information, the CPSC’s campaign is encouraging water parks, municipal swimming pools, and other indoor and outdoor aquatic facilities to celebrate Pool Safely Day. The annual event promotes water safety and encourages all Americans to pool safely every day.
Participants nationwide will be participating in Pool Safely Day activities during the week of July 22-29, 2012. Also, more than 70 facilities in 30 states have registered events with CPSC during that week, including free swimming lessons, CPR training, and distributing Pool Safely information materials to parents and caregivers. “Making sure their children learn how to swim is one of the most important steps parents can take,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “Swimming is a fun activity to help keep cool in the summer and it also can be a lifesaver.”
Texas had the highest number of drownings—13—in this time period, followed by California, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania with each reporting five drownings. The CPSC’s most current submersion report reveals an average 390 pool or spa-related drownings annually in children under the age of 15, based on 2007-2009 statistics. About 5,200 pool or spa-related emergency department-treated submersion injuries occur on average annually for children under 15. “This information tells a heartbreaking story,” said Chairman Tenenbaum. “Behind each one of these incidents are grieving family members and communities. These are preventable tragedies, so we must continue to share the simple safety steps that parents and caregivers should take both before and during time spent in or near the water. That’s what we mean when we say America needs to learn how to pool safely.”
The Pool Safely campaign provides information on the simple steps that parents, caregivers and pool owners can take to ensure that children and adults stay safe around pools and spas, including:
• Stay close, be alert, and watch children in and around the pool. This means, never leave children unattended in a pool or spa; always watch children closely around all bodies of water; teach children basic water safety tips; and keep children away from pool drains, pipes, and other openings.
• Learn and practice water safety skills. This means, every family member should know how to swim and know how to perform CPR on children and adults.
• Maintain appropriate equipment for your pool or spa. This includes fencing; lockable safety covers; proper drain covers to avoid entrapments; and keeping lifesaving equipment, such as life rings and a reaching pole, handy.
The Pool Safely campaign was launched in 2010 to raise awareness about pool and spa safety, as mandated by the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act. In 2012, the campaign has increased its focus on populations who are at the most significant risk of drowning.