Child drownings remain a major public health issue; in fact, it is the leading cause of unintentional death to children ages 1-4. And, at least 203 children younger than 15 fatally drowned in swimming pools and spas in the United States since Memorial Day, according to media reports compiled by the USA Swimming Foundation. This increased compared to the same time period last summer, when at least 174 children younger than 15 fatally drowned.
Small children are at the highest risk. More than half (55 percent) of these children were younger than 5, a 23 percent increase over last summer.
And, some states have had a more tragic summer than others. So far this summer, the states that have suffered the highest number of fatal pool and spa drownings involving children younger than 15 include:
1. Texas (26)
2. Florida (19)
3. California (15)
4. Arizona and Pennsylvania (11)
6. North Carolina and South Carolina (8)
8. Georgia, Illinois, Ohio and Virginia (7)
These numbers are unacceptable as every one of these tragedies could have been avoided. We need to #poolsafely and #stopdrowning!
With this ultimate goal in mind, CPSC’s Pool Safely campaign offers important ways for kids and families to learn the simple safety steps that can keep everyone safer when they are in and around the water.
The first step to pooling safely is taking the Pool Safely Pledge. Join Chairman Elliot Kaye and the nearly 23,000 adults and kids who have taken the Pledge –it’s a call to action.
After everyone in the family has taken the Pledge, check out nationally recognized singer/songwriter Laurie Berkner and her Pool Safely song. Laurie’s song is really catchy and helps kids learn the four simple steps to staying safer around the pool:
1. Everyone should learn to swim.
2. Don’t climb over gates or fences.
3. Stay away from drains in pools and spas.
4. Kids should always ask an adult for permission before going in or near the water.
Finally, parents can reinforce the safety steps by downloading Pool Safely’s first app —The Adventures of Splish and Splash, for their children to play. This 20-level game teaches kids the dos and don’ts of water safety and can be downloaded for free on smart phones and tablets via iTunes and Google Play.
Even though summer has come to a close and children are back in school, it is important to remember that water safety is not a seasonal issue; it must remain a priority 365 days a year. Throughout the fall and winter, pools will remain open at indoor water parks, hotels, motels, and in warm weather states, which often suffer from some of the highest number of fatal drownings. So please, remember to Pool Safely year round and together we can save more lives.