Friday, April 22, 2011

75 Drownings and Near-Drownings in 15 Weeks

With the summer swimming season just around the corner, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's (CPSC) Pool Safely: Simple Steps Save Lives campaign is releasing its 2011 television and radio public service announcements (PSAs) highlighting various water safety steps that can be taken to save a life. In the first few months of 2011, there have been 37 drownings and 38 near-drowning incidents reported by the media across America. Developed with the campaign's national partners the American Red Cross and the Y, the PSAs are being released nationally today urging parents and children to adopt as many safety steps as possible in and around pools and spas. The Pool Safely campaign is the federal government's first-of-its-kind national public education effort to reduce child drownings and near-drownings in swimming pools and spas.

"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 Inez Tenenbaum, Chairman of the CPSC.

The PSAs introduce four families and their stories about the simple steps that save lives: door alarms, knowledge of CPR, fencing around pools and spas and safety drain covers in pools and spas. The radio PSAs promote the importance of swimming lessons as a simple step that saves lives. Available to local television and radio stations in both English and Spanish, the English-language versions feature Ming-Na, the voice of Mulan in Disney animated films and star of the NBC drama "ER", "The Joy Luck Club" and "Stargate Universe". You can watch the PSA here.

"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."concluded Tenenbaum.

CPSC Chairman Tenenbaum delivered a keynote speech at the National Drowning Prevention Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado last week. Her address at the nation's premiere water safety and drowning prevention conference focused on CPSC's role in preventing drowning, the Pool Safely campaign and its efforts to encourage compliance with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, which mandated a national public education campaign about drowning and entrapment prevention. Tenenbaum also provided an update on the campaign and efforts to sustain drowning prevention advocacy through education, training and partnerships.

Since January 2010, the Pool Safely campaign has responded to over 600 media-reported drowning, near-drowning and entrapment incidents. Steps such as staying close to children at all times, learning water safety skills and having the appropriate equipment, can help families have a safer experience in and around pools and spas.

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