CPSC Doles Out $1.3M in Grants to Combat Pool and Spa Drownings

Child drownings are the leading cause of unintentional death among U.S. children ages one to four.

Federal safety officials have awarded more than $1.3 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 throughout the United States.

In a press release issued in late December, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced the Pool Safely Grants for five states and local governments that will provide needed funds to address drowning and drain entrapment risks.

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.

With child drownings remaining the leading cause of unintentional death among young U.S. children, the CPSC has awarded more than $1.3 million in Pool Safely Grant Program (PSGP) grant funds to provide assistance in education, training, and enforcement of pool safety requirements.

Under the grants, Florida’s Department of Health will receive $363,749, Virginia Department Of Health will receive $51,850, and California’s County of Stanislaus will receive $320,000, Los Angeles will receive $400,000 and the County of Tulare, also in California, will receive $173,095.92.

“Drowning remains the number one cause of death for children ages one to four,” CPSC Chair Alexander Hoehn-Saric said in the press release. “These grant funds are an essential element in our work to protect children, by providing lifesaving safety information to communities, and helping these communities enforce pool safety requirements.”

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The grants were passed with the assistance of U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, who authored and led the passage 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.

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., most drownings happen 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.

Approximately 6,200 pool or spa related injuries were treated at hospital emergency departments from 2018 through 2020, with eight out of ten reports involving children younger than five years of age, according to recent CPSC data.

In June 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, officials warned that pool drowning deaths and injuries could be on the rise, with many stuck at home during summer month lockdowns ordered by State governors. The agency warns that residential locations, such as a child’s home, a family or friend’s house or a neighbor’s residence, make up more than 70% of all reported drowning fatalities.

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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