The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has kicked off the summer swimming season and the third year of the Pool Safely: Simple Steps Save Lives campaign and Greenview Regional Hospital’s Emergency Department urges caution when letting your youngsters play in and around the pool.
This year, Pool Safely’s focus is on populations most at risk of drowning, including children younger than 5 years old who represent nearly 75 percent of child drowning fatalities and African American and Hispanic children between the ages of 5 and 14 who drown at higher rates than white children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Data from USA Swimming indicates that 70 percent of African American children and 62 percent of Hispanic children cannot swim, making them especially vulnerable populations.
“CPSC’s Pool Safely campaign has worked to prevent countless drownings, and we will continue to work to save even more lives this year,” said Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “Drowning is still the leading cause of unintentional deaths with children younger than 5. That’s why the Pool Safely campaign is encouraging all parents and caregivers of children, especially African American and Hispanic children, to help them learn to swim and to take water safety seriously.”
New statistics released by CPSC today include:
An annual average of 390 pool or spa-related drownings for children younger than 15 occurred from 2007 to 2009; about 75 percent (293) of the reported fatalities involved children younger than five.
An estimated annual average of 5,200 pool or spa-related emergency department-treated submersion injuries for children younger than 15, from 2009 to 2011; children younger than 5 represented 79 percent, or 4,108, of these injuries.
Children between the ages of 1 and 3 (12 months through 47 months) represented 66 percent of estimated injuries for 2009 through 2011 and 67 percent of the reported fatalities for 2007 through 2009 involving children younger than 15 years.
The majority of the estimated emergency department-treated submersion injuries for 2009 through 2011 and the reported fatalities for 2007 through 2009 were associated with pools.
Approximately 51 percent of the estimated injuries for 2009 through 2011 and 73 percent of the fatalities for 2007 through 2009 involving children younger than 15 years old occurred at a residence.
Residential locations dominated incidents involving victims younger than 5 years of age (54 percent for injuries and 85 percent for fatalities).
Approximately 58 percent of fatalities (annual average of 226) occurred in in-ground pools.
Portable pools accounted for 10 percent of the reported fatalities (annual average of 40) to children younger than 15 years of age.
There were no reported entrapment fatalities for 2011. CPSC received seven reports of entrapment injury incidents during 2011.
Pool Safely, a national public education campaign, works with partners around the country to reduce child drownings, near-drownings submersions and entrapment incidents in swimming pools and spas. Parents, caregivers, and the media are encouraged to visit PoolSafely.gov or @PoolSafely on Twitter for vital safety information regarding the prevention of child submersions in and around pools and spas.