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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued a report that states: “Drowning is the leading cause of injury death among children ages 1-4 years… These children most commonly drowned in swimming pools.”
“We hope this new report sparks a national conversation that will raise public awareness and promote safer behaviors among parents and swimming pool and spa owners,” said Kim Burgess, executive director of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Through its vast network of water safety experts, the NDPA is urging the news media, public health officials, pediatricians, children’s health and safety advocates, early childhood educators, swim schools, pool and spa service professionals and others to educate the public.
The nonprofit organization has partnered with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission for a second year to promote the agency’s Pool Safely public education campaign.
NDPA president Tiffaney Isaacson, of Phoenix, Ariz., water safety coordinator of the Water Watchers program at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. “Drowning is so swift and silent that even a momentary distraction can lead to tragedy. That’s why parents and pool owners need to use multiple layers of protection.”
“Drowning is preventable if you identify the risk and take steps to minimize it,” adds NDPA treasurer
Cindy Johnson, Santa Ana, Calif., who with her husband, NDPA past president Johnny Johnson, heads up the Swim for Life Foundation. “We developed the Safer 3 message so aquatics and child safety advocates could have a clear, complete and compelling way to educate the public about the simple steps that save lives.”
Follow the “Safer 3”:
1. For safer water, prevent unsupervised access to pools and spas by installing and maintaining four-sided isolation fencing with self-closing, self-latching gates, door, water, and child immersion alarms or automatic safety covers. Have several barriers to provide back-up in case one layer fails.
2. For safer kids, always designate a “water watcher” who will remain vigilant and undistracted while supervising children in or near water. Also teach children water safety and swimming skills at a young age.
3. For safer response know how to perform CPR and keep a phone and rescue equipment by the pool.