WASHINGTON, D.C. – 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 media reports compiled by 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, according to news accounts. Of the 202 news reports in the summer of 2013, 143 victims were children younger than age 5.
“These numbers are heartbreaking—plain and simple. They should motivate all of us to do even more to prevent another family from suffering the way they have,” said CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye. “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.”
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
8. Arizona: 7
10. Louisiana: 5
South Carolina: 5
Pool Safely is a national public education campaign 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 is focusing on populations most at risk of drowning: minorities and children younger than age 5.
The Pool Safely campaign provides information on the simple steps that parents, caregivers, and pool owners should take to ensure that children and adults stay safer in and around pools and spas:
- 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 entrapments.
- 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.
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. The campaign has increased its focus on populations most at risk of drowning. 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.
Data from USA Swimming indicate that 70 percent of African American children, 60 percent of Hispanic children, and 40 percent of white children cannot swim. Children who cannot swim are more likely to drown.
Visit www.PoolSafely.gov/Pledge to take the Pledge to help reduce drownings in the United States.