Hundreds of U.S. children die in pool and hot tub drownings each year, and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is urging parents to redouble safety efforts this summer.
That’s because many children have been away from the water during the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Child drowning rates and nonfatal drowning injuries among children under 15 years old remain high, and water safety vigilance is as important as ever this summer for parents and caregivers,” said Alex Hoehn-Saric, chairman of the CPSC.
Whether a child is playing in a community pool, a neighbor’s pool or the family’s own, the commission is urging parents and caregivers to prepare by reviewing pool safety tips and signing up for swimming lessons.
“Working together, we can help reduce pool- and spa-related fatalities,” Hoehn-Saric said in a CPSC news release.
On average, 389 pool- or hot tub-related drowning deaths involving kids under 15 were reported each year from 2017 to 2019, according to an annual CPSC report released June 9.
Nonfatal pool- or hot-tub-related injuries in the same age group rose from 5,800 in 2020 to 6,800 in 2022, a 17% spike.
And 73% of reported fatal drownings involved children under age 5.
On average, kids under 5 represented 80% of youngsters treated in U.S. emergency departments for pool- or hot tub-related nonfatal injuries.
Where information was available, 73% of those incidents occurred at a home. Two-thirds of fatal pool or spa drownings occurred at a home.
Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death among 1- to 4-year-olds, according to the CPSC.
The commission offered some tips to help parents and caregivers keep kids safe:
- Never leave a child unattended in or near water, including bathtubs, buckets, decorative ponds and fountains. Always designate an adult water watcher. This person should not be reading, texting, using a phone or be otherwise distracted.
- If you own a pool or hot tub, have a series of barriers to keep unsupervised individuals keep from getting to the water. This includes measures such as door alarms, pool covers, and self-closing, self-latching devices on fence gates and doors that access pools.
- Learn how to perform CPR on children and adults. Many communities offer online CPR training.
- Learn to swim and make sure your child learns as well.
- Keep kids away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments.
- Ensure that any pool and hot tub your child uses has drain covers that comply with U.S. federal safety standards. Your pool service provider can advise you about safer drain covers.
There’s more on water safety at the American Red Cross.
SOURCE: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, news release, June 9, 2022
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