Release date: September 22, 2020
Release number: 20-187

Release Details

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Drowning remains the number one cause of unintentional death among children ages 1-4, and deaths are still rising among children ages 1-15.  With more families staying at home to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, there is an increased risk of child drownings, even as Americans head into the cooler weather months.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) national public education campaign to reduce childhood drownings, Pool Safely, new PSA, “What if Kids Had Gills and Fins?” aims to remind parents that kids can’t swim like fish, and provides clear tips for how to keep them safer in and around water. 

In addition to the safety messaging shared in the new PSA, the Pool Safely campaign urges families to follow these safety tips to help protect children while in and around the water:

  • Never leave a child unattended in or near water, and always designate an adult Water Watcher.  This person should not be reading, texting, using a smartphone or be otherwise distracted.  In addition to pools and spas, this warning includes bathtubs, buckets, decorative ponds, and fountains.

  • If you own a pool or spa, install layers of protection, including a four-sided fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate.

  • Learn how to perform CPR on children and adults.  Many communities offer online CPR training.

  • Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim.

  • 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 safer drain covers.

  • Visit the Pool Safely Kids’ Corner to keep children entertained and educated with virtual water safety games and activities. 

  • Take the Pool Safely Pledge as a family, and find customized water safety resources using the Pool Safely Safer Water Information Match (S.W.I.M.) tool. 

According to CPSC’s latest data, there were, on average, 379 reported pool-or-spa-related fatal drownings per year for 2015 through 2017, involving children younger than 15 years old.  Annual fatal drowning rates increased gradually between 2015 and 2017, with a spike of 395 reported fatalities involving children younger than 15 years old in 2017.  Residential locations, such as a child’s home, a family or friend’s house or a neighbor’s residence, made up 71 percent of the reported fatal drowning incidents.

Media can download the new PSA—available in English and Spanish— here.

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Pool Safely, a national public education campaign supporting the requirements of Section 1407 of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, works with collaborators around the country to reduce child drownings, nonfatal drownings and entrapment incidents in swimming pools and spas.  Parents, caregivers and the media are encouraged to visit: PoolSafely.gov or to follow Pool Safely on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for vital safety information regarding the prevention of child drownings in and around pools and spas.

Media Contact

Please use the below phone number for all media requests.

Phone: (301) 504-7908
Spanish: (301) 504-7800

View CPSC contacts for specific areas of expertise