CPSC Makes Pool Grants Available To Prevent Accidental Drownings

With the warmer weeks of summer approaching across the nation, federal health officials have launched a grant program offering assistance to state and local governments in reducing the number of deaths and injuries which occur at public pools and spas.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced the Pool Safely Grant Program (PSGP) on May 4, offering up to $2 million in grants to jurisdictions, as part of a continuing effort to make drowning and drain entrapment prevention a priority, citing thousands of preventable pool related injuries and hundreds of deaths occurring annually.

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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Despite these injuries and deaths being almost entirely avoidable, 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.

The agency claims pool deaths and injuries have remained stagnant over the last several years, with not enough being done to reduce these preventable deaths. In addition to the fatal drowning events, thousands of individuals are seen in U.S. emergency rooms for a variety of pool and spa related injuries including slip and falls, diving board injuries, chemical exposure, and non-fatal drownings.

This week the agency announced it will take applications for 90 days for grant program funding to assist in educating consumers about drowning and entrapment dangers, as well as enforcing pool safety laws, which could assist in decreasing the annual fatality and injury rates.

The grant funding was made possible through the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (VGB Act), which was signed into law in December 2007, with the intention of helping state and local governments educate, train and enforce pool safety requirements.

“This funding will provide assistance to state and local programs in continuing this lifesaving work to reduce the risk of drowning,” CPSC Acting Chairman Robert Adler said in the press release.

Applicants can apply for the grant funding up until June 9, 2020 by visiting Grants.gov, under grant opportunity CPSC-20-001.

The World Health Organization (WHO) 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 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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