CPSC, U.S Olympian Hold Pool Safely Press Event to Release New Drowning and Entrapment Stats

The Pool Safely campaign is a national public education effort to reduce child drownings and nonfatal submersion and entrapment incidents in swimming pools and spas.
May 26, 2011
Release Number: 11-229

118 Pool and Spa Incidents Reported Since the Start of 2011

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. - As Memorial Day weekend approaches, 55 drowning and 63 near-drowning incidents in 29 states and territories have already been reported by the media in the first five months of 2011. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) today kicks off the summer swimming season and the second year of its Pool Safely: Simple Steps Save Lives campaign. The Pool Safely campaign is a national public education effort to reduce child drownings and nonfatal submersion and entrapment incidents in swimming pools and spas.

CPSC's new statistics show:

- An annual average of 383 pool and spa-related drownings for children younger than 15 occurred from 2006 to 2008; about 76 percent of the reported fatalities involved children younger than five.

- An estimated average of 5,100 pool or spa emergency department-treated submersions for children younger than 15 occurred each year from 2008 to 2010; children younger than five represented 79 percent of these-injuries.

- Children between the ages of one and three (12 to 47 months) represented 66 percent of these fatalities and 64 percent of the injuries.

- About 72 percent of the fatalities from 2006 through 2008, and 55 percent of the estimated injuries from 2008 through 2010 that involved children younger than 15 occurred in a residential pool or spa; children under five made up the majority of incidents at residential locations, with 84 percent of fatalities and 61 percent of injuries, respectively.

- Tragically, based on reported statistics, 96% of victims involved in a submersion incident will die. Fatalities usually occur the day of the drowning event (72%). For the victims who survive the event, most will succumb to their injuries within a week (24%). Only 4% of near drowning victims will survive beyond a week, and many will have severe injuries and require intensive medical care.

- There were no reported entrapment fatalities for 2010. CPSC received three reports of entrapment injury incidents during 2010.

For the complete reports see: Pool and Spa Submersions 2011 (pdf) and Circulation/Suction Entrapments 2011 (pdf). The years for reported injury and fatality statistics differ due to a lag in fatality reporting.

"CPSC's new data show that the number of drownings and near-drownings involving children younger than five are still a serious public health issue," said Chairman Tenenbaum. "CPSC is committed to reducing the number of drowning and near-drowning incidents in swimming pools and spas in the country. The Pool Safely campaign and its partners encourage parents and children to take as many water safety steps as possible to help save a life."

"As a parent, I know how important it is that I take every precaution to ensure the safety of my children in and around the water," said Janet Evans, five-time Olympic medalist in swimming. "Whether it's providing swimming lessons, installing a pool alarm, or just keeping a close eye on them while they're in the water-all of these steps will help prevent an incident. Pool Safely has a simple, but important, message: adopt as many safety measures as you can in and around the water to protect your loved ones."

The Pool Safely campaign is a key part of the CPSC's efforts to carry out the requirements of Section 1407 of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (P&SS 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.

"The City of Chula Vista embraces the Pool Safely campaign. We are honored to host the CPSC in kicking-off the summer campaign this year," said Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox. "In southern California, we can swim almost year-round, so we understand how important it is to be vigilant about pool and spa safety. The CPSC's Pool Safely campaign is an effective public education campaign that encourages parents and children to be safe in and around the water every day."