CPSC Warns Toddler Drownings Happen Quickly and Silently
Agency Premiers New Pool Safety Public Service Announcement
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
reports there are about 260 drowning deaths of children younger than 5
each year in swimming pools, and an estimated 2,725 children are treated
annually in hospital emergency rooms for pool submersion injuries -
mostly in residential pools. CPSC strongly advises that parents use
layers of protection around the pool to prevent their children from
becoming a drowning victim.
In conjunction with this year's drowning prevention campaign, CPSC has
produced a public service announcement (transcript) to illustrate what
happens when a toddler falls into a pool. It vividly demonstrates what
you expect to hear and what the reality often sounds like.
"Parents may think that if their child falls in the water, they will
hear lots of splashing and screaming, and that they will be able to come
to the rescue," CPSC Acting Chairman Nancy Nord said. "Many times,
however, children slip under the water silently. Even people near the
pool often report hearing nothing out of the ordinary."
To reduce the risk of drowning, CPSC recommends adopting layers of
protection, including physical barriers, such as a fence with
self-closing, self-latching gates completely surrounding pools to
prevent unsupervised access by young children. If the house forms a side
of the barrier, use alarms on doors leading to the pool area or a power
safety cover over the pool.
It is important to always be prepared for an emergency by having rescue
equipment and a phone near the pool. Also, all parents who own pools
should learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
"No one layer of protection is foolproof to prevent drowning in pools,"
said Nord. "Use as many layers of protection as possible. Multiple
barriers and constant supervision are essential to protecting children."
Last year, CPSC highlighted the growing dangers of the popular
inflatable or portable pools, which range in size from small kiddie
pools to pools up to 4-feet deep and 18-feet wide. Between 2004 and
2006, CPSC received 47 reports of deaths of children related to
Large inflatable pools are relatively inexpensive - large pools with
water filters can cost under $200. They often have slanted or flexible
sides, which make it easier for children to climb into the pool even
without a ladder present. These pools may fall outside of local building
codes that require barriers, and are often purchased by consumers
without considering the barriers, such as fencing, necessary to protect
In addition to barriers and constant supervision, CPSC offers these tips
to help prevent drowning deaths:
* Since every second counts, always look for a missing child in the pool
first. Precious time is often wasted looking for missing children
anywhere but in the pool.
* Don't leave toys and floats in the pool that can attract young
children and cause them to fall in the water when they reach for the
* For above-ground and inflatable pools with ladders, remove or secure
the ladder when the pool is not in use.
* Even if children can swim, it doesn't make them drown-proof. Always
supervise children using the pool.
For more information about drowning prevention, read CPSC's Swimming
Pool Safety Alert (PDF), Safety Barrier Guidelines for Pools (PDF) and
How to Plan for the Unexpected (PDF).
Also, CPSC recently updated its Guidelines for Entrapment Hazards:
Making Pools and Spas Safer (PDF), which gives information on reducing
drain entrapment dangers. CPSC recommends having a professional inspect
pools and spas for entrapment hazards, and making sure appropriate drain
covers are in place. The publication also identifies other important
strategies for addressing entrapment hazards in new and existing pools.
Copies of all these free publications can be obtained by going to CPSC's
Web site at www.cpsc.gov, or by calling CPSC's Hotline at (800)
Consumers can view a video clip about this drowning prevention campaign,
which includes the new Pool Safety Public Service Announcement on CPSC's
Web site at www.cpsc.gov
Consumers can also listen to an audio clip of the new pool Safety Public
Service Announcement on CPSC's Web site at www.cpsc.gov