Even heading into the cooler fall and winter months, the risk of child drownings is greater than ever this year with more families staying home to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in children ages 1-4. The latest water safety data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission shows that on average, 379 children fatally drown in pools and spas each year.
Because children are not born with gills and fins, parents need to keep water safety top of mind all year around. All families should take action to help prevent drowning, and there are simple steps that everyone can take to stay safer in and around the water.
● Never leave a child unattended in or near water – including pools, spas, bathtubs, buckets, decorative ponds and fountains. Always designate an adult water watcher. This person should not be reading, texting, using a smartphone or be otherwise distracted.
● If you own a pool or spa, install layers of protection, including a four-sided fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate.
● Learn how to perform CPR on children and adults. Many communities offer online CPR training.
● Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim.
● Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments.
● Ensure any pool and 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.
● Visit the Pool Safely Kids’ Corner to keep children entertained and educated with virtual water safety games and activities.
● Take the Pool Safely Pledge as a family, and find customized water safety resources using the Pool Safely Safer Water Information Match (S.W.I.M.) tool.
According to CPSC’s latest data, annual fatal drowning rates increased gradually between 2015 and 2017, with a spike of 395 reported fatalities involving children younger than 15 years old in 2017. Residential locations, such as a child’s home, a family or friend’s house or a neighbor’s residence, made up 71 percent of the reported fatal drowning incidents.