Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Stay safe in the water: Summer snapshot of drownings, near-drownings released

From a press release by the Consumer Product Safety Commission:

As the Fourth of July weekend approaches, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) Pool Safely: Simple Steps Save Lives campaign is releasing its 2011 summer snapshot of the number of drowning and near-drowning incidents across America.

Since Memorial Day, there have been 48 drownings and 75 near-drowning incidents in 35 states and territories reported by the media. With such a high number of child drownings and near-drownings, CPSC and campaign partners are calling for added vigilance at pools and spas this Fourth of July weekend and beyond. As part of this call to action, aquatic facilities across America are celebrating Pool Safely Day by making drowning prevention a priority and distributing campaign educational materials to their guests.

"Far too many families have been tragically impacted by child drownings this summer. We are calling on the public to Pool Safely this holiday weekend and in the months to come,” said Kathleen Reilly, Pool Safely Campaign Leader at CPSC. “We want to encourage everyone to remember that simple steps save lives. You never know which safety step will save a life…until it does.”

“Many households will be participating in water-related activities this summer where adults will be responsible for supervising children,” said Connie Harvey, Manager of Aquatics Programs for the American Red Cross. “Our recent water safety survey found that 21 percent of these adults have weak or non-existent swimming skills. People need to make water safety a priority, learn how to swim well and know what to do in an emergency.”

The American Red Cross national survey of more than 1,000 adults, taken earlier this spring, also found that:

  • 45 percent intend to swim in their own pool or someone else’s home pool;
  • One-third of the survey respondents (32 percent) mistakenly believe that having a child wear water wings or floaties is safer than providing arm’s reach supervision; and
  • 38 percent recalled an experience in which someone in deep water needed help.

“Working at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, I see firsthand how families are affected by water-related tragedies,” said Tiffaney Isaacson, president-elect of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance and the water safety coordinator at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital Injury Prevention Center. “As children in Phoenix have easy access to pools and spas, we must come together as a community and be extra vigilant to keep our children safe. Whether it’s swimming lessons, installing a pool alarm or just keeping a close eye on them while in the water – all of these steps will help prevent an incident.”

In the weeks leading up to the Fourth of July holiday weekend, CPSC issued a nationwide call-to-action to campaign partners and aquatic facilities to demonstrate their support for Pool Safely Day by making drowning prevention a priority and distributing campaign educational materials to their guests.

CPSC introduced the Pool Safely: Simple Steps Save Lives campaign in Spring 2010 to support the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, federal legislation signed into law in 2007 mandating new requirements for pool and spa safety. It includes a requirement for a national public education campaign designed to raise public awareness, support industry compliance, and improve safety at pools and spas.

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