SOMERSET COUNTY, NJ — With some private clubs and municipalities declining to open their pools in 2020 because of the pandemic, the attractiveness of having a pool of one's own has become heightened for some local residents.
But pool ownership further underscores the importance of swim safety.
Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in children ages 1 through 4, and new data released by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) shows that more than 375 children drown in pools and spas each year. Children younger than 5 years old account for 75 percent of these drownings, 56 percent of which are attributed to a gap in adult supervision. Most child drownings (71 percent) happen at home.
In response to these numbers, CPSC’s Pool Safely campaign is sharing simple water safety steps that families can take to prevent drownings, especially while many families are spending more time around backyard and portable pools this season.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Pool Safely campaign urges parents and caregivers to follow the Pool Safely simple safety steps to prevent more drownings:
- Never leave a child unattended in or near water, and always designate an adult Water Watcher. This person should not be reading, texting, using a smartphone or be otherwise distracted. In addition to pools and spas, this warning includes bathtubs, buckets, decorative ponds, and fountains.
- If you own a pool or spa, be sure to 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 and if you do not know, ask your pool service provider about safer drain covers.
Families can visit poolsafely.gov for additional water safety tips to prepare for a summer that is safer and more fun.