Spa, Pool Drownings Killed 163 Children This Summer, CPSC Reports

Federal safety officials indicate that between Memorial Day and Labor Day this year, more than 160 children nationwide drowned in swimming pools or spas, most commonly involving children under the age of five. 

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released its Pool Safely statistics  on September 18, indicating that the agency is aware of at least 163 children under the age of 15 years old who drowned in private or public pools and spas this summer. Nearly 70 percent of the drownings involved children five years of age or younger.

Each year, the CPSC tracks and records pool and spa injury and fatality data to determine the populations most at risk, and to implement educational programs in those areas to reduce the amount of drowning fatalities.

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The CPSC tracks data for pool and spa drowning from Memorial Day to Labor Day each year, since this is the most popular times for individuals who own pools at home to open them up for the warmer summer months, and for public pools to open up to communities.

Since 2010, the CPSC has launched a national Pool Safely campaign in May of each year, which is designed to provide information on the simple steps that parents, caregivers, and pool owners should take to ensure that children and adults stay safer in and around pools and spas to prevent injuries and drownings.

Officials noted that there were fewer drownings this year than in 2016, when at least 205 pool and spa drownings were reported involving deaths for children under 15 years of age during the summer months.

The CPSC warns that children under the age of 15 years old are among the most prone to be involved in a pool or spa injury or fatality, according to the annual data. Furthermore, children under the age of five years old have accounted for more than 70 percent of all pool and spa drowning fatalities over the last two years.

Researchers have found that children under the age of five are the most vulnerable and susceptible to be involved in fatal pool drownings, either from inability to swim, lack of supervision, or lack of proper flotation and safety devices.

For the 2017 swimming season, the following states were recorded to have the most drowning fatalities at private and public pools and spas; Florida: 25, California: 14, Texas: 14, Arizona: 10, Georgia: 7, Ohio: 7, Virginia: 7, Indiana: 6, Louisiana: 6

“Each one of these deaths is a tragedy, which serves as a sobering reminder of how dangerous water can be for young children,” Acting CPSC Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle, said in the press release. “Even though summer is over and children are back in school, pools are still open in warm weather states and indoor swim parks. I encourage all families to Pool Safely and follow the simple steps that save lives whenever they’re enjoying time in or near the water.”

The Pool Safely campaign recommends all parents and guardians follow a few simple steps to keep children safer in and around the water by visiting their website. The agency has listed the following recommendations below.

  • Install a four-sided fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate around all pools and spas.
  • Designate an adult Water Watcher to supervise children at all times around the water.
  • Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim.
  • Learn how to perform CPR on children and adults.
  • Teach children to stay away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments.
  • Ensure any pool or spa you use has drain covers that comply with federal safety standards. If you do not know, ask your pool service provider about safer drain covers.

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