Personal Injury

As temperatures rise, so do pool safety concerns

Swimming pools and spas are ideal for both soaking up the sun and cooling down on hot summer days, and with summer just around the corner, the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission is urging parents and chaperones of young children to keep safety in the front of their minds when heading to the local pool. The reminder is more important now than ever before because this year has already been a deadly one for children in swimming pools, and the summer season hasn’t even started in most of the country.

The CPSC says that there have been 75 drownings and near drownings in the first 15 weeks of 2011, and these are just the incidents that have been reported by the media. Of these 75 incidents, 37 were drownings and 38 were near drownings.

“As the summer swimming season approaches, our message to parents and caregivers is simple: stay safe in and around pools and spas by practicing as many safety steps as possible. This includes staying close to children at all times, knowing water safety skills like CPR, and ensuring anti-entrapment drain covers are installed in all pools and spas,” said CPSC Chairwoman Inez Tenenbaum.

The CPSC has also partnered with the American Red Cross and the Y this year to develop a series of public service announcements (PSAs) for radio and television, highlighting various water-activity safety tips that can help save lives. The PSAs are part of the CPSC’s Pool Safely Campaign, a national initiative aimed at reducing drownings and water-related injuries in the swimming pools and spas.

Specifically, the PSAs introduce four real families whose stories help promote the importance of taking simple safety measures very seriously. The featured families will share their experiences with door alarms, knowledge of CPR, fencing around pools and spas, and drain safety covers. The radio PSAs use celebrity voices to offer reminders and safety tips in an effort to raise pool-safety raise awareness.

“So many of the drowning and near-drowning incidents that happen every year are preventable and every drowning and near-drowning is a terrible tragedy, Ms. Tenenbaum said.

The CPSC estimates that 300 children 5 years old and younger drown in swimming pools and spas every year in the U.S. More than 3,000 children the same age are treated in hospital emergency rooms for non-fatal submersion injuries, many of which result in permanent disability, including brain damage.