PhotoNew information from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) shows that 90 children younger than 15 were reported to have drowned in swimming pools since Memorial Day.
An additional 106 children of that age required emergency response for near-drowning incidents, according to media reports, providing a sobering reminder of how a fun day at the pool can quickly turn tragic.
The figures show that young children and toddlers are especially vulnerable to drowning. Seventy-two percent of the children reported to have drowned since Memorial Day were younger than five years old.
Pool Safely Day
In light of this information, CSPC's Pool Safely: Simple Steps Save Lives campaign is encouraging water parks, municipal swimming pools and other indoor and outdoor aquatic facilities to celebrate Pool Safely Day, an annual event promoting water safety that encourages all Americans to pool safely every day.
Participants from all around the U.S. will be participating in Pool Safely Day activities this week (July 22-29). More than 70 facilities in 30 states have registered events with CPSC during the week. Events will range from free swimming lessons, to CPR training, to 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 leads the way
Texas had the highest number of drownings (13) in this time period with California, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania each reporting five drownings.
CPSC's latest submersion report shows on average 390 pool or spa-related drownings occur each year for children younger than 15, based on statistics from 2007-2009. About 5,200 pool or spa-related emergency department-treated submersion injuries occur on average each year for children younger than 15.
"This information tells a heartbreaking story," said 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:
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 learning to perform CPR on children and adults.
Have appropriate equipment for your pool or spa. This include fencing, a lockable safety cover, proper drain covers to avoid entrapments, and lifesaving equipment such as life rings and a reaching pole.
Pool Safely campaign
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.
This year, the campaign is increasing its focus on populations most at risk of drowning, including children younger than five years old who represent 75 percent of child drowning fatalities on average, and black and Hispanic children between the ages of 5 and 14 who drown at higher rates than white children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Data from USA Swimming indicate that 70 percent of black children and 62 percent of Hispanic children cannot swim, making them especially vulnerable to drowning.