WASHINGTON, D.C. - As the Fourth of July weekend approaches, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's (CPSC) Pool Safely: Simple Steps Save Lives campaign is releasing its 2011 summer snapshot of the number of drowning and near-drowning incidents across America. Since Memorial Day, there have been 48 drownings and 75 near-drowning incidents in 35 states and territories reported by the media. With such a high number of child drownings and near-drownings, CPSC and campaign partners are calling for added vigilance at pools and spas this Fourth of July weekend and beyond. As part of this call to action, aquatic facilities across America are celebrating Pool Safely Day by making drowning prevention a priority and distributing campaign educational materials to their guests.
"Far too many families have been tragically impacted by child drownings this summer. We are calling on the public to Pool Safely this holiday weekend and in the months to come," said Kathleen Reilly, Pool Safely Campaign Leader at CPSC. "We want to encourage everyone to remember that simple steps save lives. You never know which safety step will save a life…until it does."
At a press conference at the Legacy Foundation Chris-Town YMCA in Phoenix today, local leaders and Pool Safely campaign partners joined CPSC's Kathleen Reilly to urge parents and children to be vigilant in and around pools and spas. Participants included: Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon; Phoenix Fire Department Assistant Chief Todd Harms; American Red Cross Aquatics Manager Connie Harvey; Tiffaney Isaacson, President-elect of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance and the Water Safety Coordinator at the Phoenix Children's Hospital Injury Prevention Center; and Phoenix City Councilman Claude Mattox.
"The City of Phoenix is proud to host the Pool Safely campaign," said Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon. "There is no doubt that the critical key to preventing tragic incidents or drowning is education. I applaud CPSC's Pool Safely campaign for raising awareness in Phoenix about how everyone can take simple steps to assure our loved ones are safe when they are around pools."
"Many households will be participating in water-related activities this summer where adults will be responsible for supervising children," said Connie Harvey, Manager of Aquatics Programs for the American Red Cross. "Our recent water safety survey found that 21 percent of these adults have weak or non-existent swimming skills. People need to make water safety a priority, learn how to swim well and know what to do in an emergency."
The American Red Cross national survey (pdf) of more than 1,000 adults, taken earlier this spring, also found that:
- 45 percent intend to swim in their own pool or someone else's home pool;
- One-third of the survey respondents (32 percent) mistakenly believe that having a child wear water wings or floaties is safer than providing arm's reach supervision; and
- 38 percent recalled an experience in which someone in deep water needed help.
"Working at Phoenix Children's Hospital, I see firsthand how families are affected by water-related tragedies," said Tiffaney Isaacson, President-elect of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance and the Water Safety Coordinator at the Phoenix Children's Hospital Injury Prevention Center. "As children in Phoenix have easy access to pools and spas, we must come together as a community and be extra vigilant to keep our children safe. Whether it's swimming lessons, installing a pool alarm or just keeping a close eye on them while in the water - all of these steps will help prevent an incident."
In the weeks leading up to the Fourth of July holiday weekend, CPSC issued a nationwide call-to-action to campaign partners and aquatic facilities to demonstrate their support for Pool Safely Day by making drowning prevention a priority and distributing campaign educational materials to their guests.
Examples of Pool Safely Day activities held today include:
- Six YMCA's in Volusia County, FL are participating in Pool Safely Day on the 28th. Locations include: Four Townes Family YMCA, DeLand Family YMCA, Southeast Volusia Family YMCA, Port Orange Family YMCA, Holly Hill Family YMCA, Ormond Beach Family YMCA List.
- Chandler Glenn, a 13 year-old girl is actively involved in the Swisher County 4H (Texas). Last summer, a friend of hers nearly-drowned in a city pool. Since then Chandler has made it her priority to organize the 1st annual Swimming/Water Safety Day at the Tulia City Pool as part of Pool Safely Day. Chandler teamed up with the lifeguards and the Amarillo Chapter of the American Red Cross on the event. The event was held on June 23, 2011 from 6 to 8pm at the City Pool in Tulia, TX; admission was 2 canned goods to be donated to the local food bank.
- The Littleton, CO Fire & Rescue had 11 facilities participating in Pool Safely Day on June 24th with approximately 100 kids at each location that included CPR demonstrations and handing out Pool Safely materials.
CPSC introduced the Pool Safely: Simple Steps Save Lives campaign in Spring 2010 to support the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety 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.