PoolSafely Kids Education Press Event - Friday, July 23, 2010, Houston, Texas

julio 23, 2010

Judge Emmett, thank you very much for that warm introduction and for your leadership in keeping the four million residents of Harris County safe and secure.

 

We are all here today for a simple but powerful reason: to save the lives of children in Houston and across Texas.

 

Drowning is a leading - but preventable - cause of death and injury among children under the age of five. We're so pleased to be here at the Weekley Family Y to do something about that tragic statistic.

 

Our new Pool Safely public education campaign is all about using and sharing the simple steps that can save a child's life.

 

Just last month a teacher heroically saved the life of a two year old boy in Southwest Houston through his quick actions and knowledge of CPR.

 

Texas is considered a trouble spot when it comes to pool safety as there are a high number of drowning and submersion incidents year round - there have been 17 incidents in Texas just since Memorial Day.

 

CPSC, along with the National Drowning Prevention Alliance and Safe Kids, has brought our Pool Safely campaign to Houston to announce a new kid's safety education program. A program aimed at preventing drownings.

 

This is the latest initiative in our national Pool Safely: Simple Steps Save Lives campaign.

 

The centerpiece of our kids safety program is an online activity for families and an educational video that we are releasing today.

 

The educational video uses seven Pool Safely steps to encourage safe and responsible behavior in and around pools and spas.

 

Some of these lifesaving steps include: having a fence of at least four feet tall, with a self latching and self closing gate around the pool; having a pool alarm and a door alarm on any door leading to a pool or spa; knowing CPR; always supervising children in and around pools and spas; and installing safer drain covers.

 

The video series is now available on YouTube and the Safe Kids and NDPA websites. I encourage families to check them out and share them with friends and neighbors.

 

The new Pool Safely "app" is an interactive online game for parents and young children. It highlights the campaign's simple steps and encourages players to correct unsafe behaviors around pools and spas in real world settings, such as backyards, hotels and community pools.

 

The online game is aimed at children seven and under and is available for play at PoolSafely.gov, Safekids.org and NDPA.org.

 

We are now going to take a moment to show all of you the introduction to the video and a preview of the app:

 

These look great. Go to PoolSafely.gov today to learn more safety steps by viewing the video and using the app.

 

Today's announcement is just the latest in our national campaign. Last month, CPSC released a series of public service announcements that show parents and children how to stay safe in and around pools and spas. The PSAs are available for television, radio and print media in English and Spanish.

 

We really encourage all of you in the media to use them.

 

The numbers of incidents this summer are the driving reason why we encourage everyone to learn and follow the simple steps that can save lives.

 

From installing a four foot fence to having a working pool alarm. From securing the back door that leads to the pool to supervising young children every second they are in or around water.

 

Drowning deaths rise every summer and this year is no exception: since Memorial Day, the Pool Safely campaign has tracked more than 210 drownings, near drownings or submersion incidents in 38 states. Nearly 100 of these 210 incidents were fatal.

 

Each of those numbers represents a family traumatized by a child's death or a close call.

 

Our message today is especially important for the African American community. As USA Swimming and CDC have determined, there is a disproportionate risk of drowning for African American children, especially among young African American males.

 

With the support of our partners and through CPSC's minority outreach program, we are getting the word out through the community, so that everyone can take the simple steps that save lives.

 

I would like to close my remarks by recognizing that the passage of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act is a key reason we are all gathered here today.

 

This child safety law has helped make hundreds of thousands of pools safer by increasing the attention to a hidden and awful hazard: pool and spa drain entrapment.

 

The law is named after the granddaughter of Texas native and former Secretary of State James Baker. The Secretary, his daughter-in-law Nancy Baker, along with Safe Kids, NDPA, and so many others were the driving forces behind the passage of this important law.

 

Parents should know that many public pools and spas across Texas have installed new, safer drain covers, another safety step - this one being required by federal law - to keep their children safe.

 

I would like to thank Katie Moore and the Texas Department of Public Health for their leadership and collaboration in implementing this very important law.

 

I also want to reiterate a message I sent to public pool and spa operators when I first arrived at CPSC last summer - if your facility is not compliant with the Pool and Spa Safety Act, you should not be open.

 

Install the right equipment and comply with the law, so that you can stay open and help the kids in your community have a fun and safe place to go.

 

Adding extra safety steps around the water can make all the difference. You can never know which safety measure will save a life - until it does.

 

Thank you.

 

It is now my pleasure to introduce a colleague and strong partner of CPSC, Mitch Stoller. Mitch is the Chief Executive Officer of the wonderful organization Safe Kids Worldwide.

 

Safe Kids makes a difference to children across the country through its network of more than 600 coalitions and chapters. Its coalitions bring together health and safety experts, corporations, state and local governments, and volunteers to educate and protect families.

 

Mitch also has roots in Texas, as he used to be the President and CEO of the Austin based Lance Armstrong Foundation. Mitch, thank you for your support of the Pool Safely campaign.