From Memorial Day through Labor Day 2014, at least 174 children between the ages of 1 and 14 drowned in swimming pools or spas, according to the USA Swimming Foundation. Of the 174 reports, 112 victims were children younger than age 5. During the same period in 2013, 202 children between the ages of 1 and 14 drowned in swimming pools or spas.
"These numbers are heartbreaking--plain and simple. Even though summer is over and children are back in school, pools are still open in warm weather states and indoor swim parks. It's not too late for adults and kids to learn to swim and to take the Pool Safely Pledge to be safer around the water all year long." said Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman, Elliot Kaye.
According to USA Swimming, media reports indicate that during the summer of 2014, the following states suffered the highest number of pool and spa drownings involving children younger than 15:
1. California: 21
2. Texas: 20
3. Georgia: 13
4. New York: 12
5. Illinois: 11
6. Florida: 10 & North Carolina: 10
7. Arizona: 7 & Ohio: 7
8. Louisiana: 5 & South Carolina: 5 & Virginia: 5
'Pool Safely' is a national public education campaign launched in 2010 and run by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The effort is to reduce child drownings, near-drownings and entrapments in swimming pools and spas. For the third year, the campaign has increased its focus on populations most at risk of drowning: minorities and children under th age of 5. African American children between the ages of 5 and 19 are 5½ times more likely to drown in pools than white children that age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Pool Safely campaign emphasizes:
• Never leave a child unattended in a pool or spa and always watch your children closely around all bodies of water.
• Designate a Water Watcher to supervise children in the pool or spa. This person should not be reading, texting, using a smart phone or be otherwise distracted.
• Learn how to swim, and teach your child how to swim.
• Learn how to perform CPR on children and adults.
• Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapment.
• Ensure any pool and spa you use has drain covers that comply with federal safety standards, and, if you do not know, ask your pool service provider about safe drain covers.
Written by James P. Nevin