Drowning is Leading Cause of Death for Children: CPSC Report

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By: Russell Maas | Published: May 23rd, 2013

As people throughout the country are preparing for Memorial day weekend and the approaching summer months, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning parents and guardians to closely watch their children in and around the water at community and backyard swimming pools.

In a report issued by the U.S. CPSC on May 22, the agency indicates that there are an average of 290 pool or spa-related fatalities occur every year, with 76% of those victims being under the age of five.

Overall, the report indicates that there are 5,100 pool or spa related injuries annually that result in emergency medical treatment, with 78% of these incidents involving children under the age of 5.

The CPSC advised parents and guardians of young children to be certain that the swimming facilities the children are using have proper safety equipment to prevent drowning and entrapment incidents. The CPSC stated in the report that children between the ages 1 and 3 years old account for almost 70% of drowning fatalities each year and simple precautionary steps can be taken to prevent accidents.

Chairman of the CPSC Inez Tennenbaum stated in the report that uninterrupted supervision is essential in preventing children from drowning. The CPSC launched its “Pool Safely” program after a 7 year old girl died in 2002, after being trapped underwater by a faulty pool suction drain.

The government “Pool Safely” campaign is focusing its attention on statistically high risk minorities such as African American and Hispanic children between the ages 5 and 19 years old.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added to the report, showing that African American children are six times more likely to drown in pools than any other race. Additional data from USA Swimming provided that Hispanic and African American children are higher at risk because statistics showed 62-70% of these children can not swim, creating an increased drowning hazard.

Chief Public Affairs Officer for the American Red Cross Suzy DeFrancis, added there are Learn-to-Swim programs being implemented at local community pools and that water safety tips are offered online as well at redcross.org.

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