CPSC Seeks To Combat Pool Drownings And Entrapments With Grant Program

Federal safety officials have awarded nearly $1 million in grant assistance to state and local governments, as part of a continuing effort to help reduce the number of deaths and injuries that occur each year at public pools and spas.

In a press release issued earlier this month, The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced Pool Safely Grants were awarded to five states and local governments to address drowning and drain entrapments.

Each year, the CPSC tracks and records pool and spa safety data, including the number of injuries and deaths, as well as the populations most at risk. The agency also implements educational programs in those areas to reduce the amount of drowning deaths.

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The CPSC estimates approximately 390 pool and spa related deaths occur each year, with most happening between Memorial Day and Labor Day, 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. Virtually all of these deaths are avoidable, according to safety officials.

Under the grants, Florida’s Department of Health will receive $248,695, Illinois DuPage County Health Department will receive $291,811, New Jersey’s County of Middlesex will receive $128,800, the District of Columbia will receive $54,993 and Virginia’s Loudoun County will receive $142,968.

“These grants will help states and local governments reach consumers with lifesaving information to prevent pool and spa drownings and entrapments, and will help them to enforce pool safety requirements,” CPSC Acting Chairman Robert Adler said in the press release.

The grants were passed with the assistance of U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, who authored and led the passing of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (VGB Act) by Congress in 2007, which authorizes the Pool Safely Grant Program (PSGP) to provide funding to state and local governments with assistance for education, training, and enforcement of pool safety requirements.

In June 2019, the CPSC released updated child drowning figures, warning that the annual average number of fatal drownings of children under five years old spiked between 2016 and 2018. The CPSC called it a public health crisis.

The report indicated pool and spa related fatal drownings were on the rise, with 348 recorded in 2015 and 389 recorded in 2016. More than 70% of the recorded fatalities involved children under the age of five years old.

The World Health Organization previously placed drowning as the third leading cause of unintentional deaths worldwide, averaging roughly 360,000 each year. In the U.S. alone, drowning is the number one cause of unintentional death for children between the ages of one and four years old.

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.

The CSPC urges parents and caregivers who own pools or spas, and those who visit public pools, to follow Pool Safely’s simple steps to keep children safe around water.

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