More than 7,000 drowning deaths occur nationally each year, according to the National Safety Council, with drowning accidents the leading cause of death and injury of children under 5 years of age. Drowning is also the second-leading cause of injury-related death among children under the age of 15. Moreover, each year nearly 6,000 children under the age of 15 are hospitalized for near-drowning events, of whom as many as 20% suffer severe and permanent disabilities.
The majority of pool-related injuries (48%) occur at a residential home, with 20% of injuries taking place at a public pool or spa including condominium and apartment complex pools.
Making Pool Safety a Priority
In an effort to make pool safety a critical public safety priority, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is offering state and local governments the opportunity to apply for grants under the Pool Safely Grant Program (PSGP). The CPSC will award up to a total of $2 million in two-year grants to assist jurisdictions in reducing deaths and injuries from drowning and drain entrapment incidents in pools and spas.
The PSGP is made possible through the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (VGB Act), which provides state and local governments with assistance for education, training, and enforcement of pool safety requirements. (Virginia Graeme Baker, a seven-year-old girl for whom the act is named, died from drowning due to a suction entrapment from a faulty drain cover.)
The grants are designed to help educate consumers about drowning and entrapment dangers and provide financial assistance to states and municipalities for their enforcement of pool safety laws, according to the CPSC. “State and local programs can receive funding to continue this lifesaving work to reduce the risk of drowning.”
All state or local grant applications must be submitted by July 19, 2021.
Child Safety Laws and Pool Safety Tips
Following are several measures you can share with your insureds to help reduce the risk of drowning:
- Install safety drain covers and a physical barrier such as a fence around the entire pool.
- Teach children to never try to climb over the gate or fence. Install a door alarm from the house to the pool area, and keep pool and spa covers in working order.
- Ensure there are self-closing, self-latching gates.
- Teach children to keep their distance from drains.
- Never enter a pool or spa that has a loose, broken, or missing drain cover. Children’s hair, limbs, jewelry, or bathing suits can get stuck in a drain or suction opening.
- Know how to perform CPR on children and adults.
You can find additional pool safety tips at: www.poolsafely.gov.