An average of 390 children drown each year in the United States, most younger than 5, according to two new reports. "We are talking about 15 preschool classes lost in a pool or spa every year. This is a national health and safety problem that we must work to get fixed," said Inez Tenenbaum, chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Approximately 5,100 pool or spa-related injuries occur each year involving children younger than 15. Some of those injured require life-long medical care, resulting in millions of dollars in medical costs, Tenenbaum said.
The entrapment report also revealed that from 2008 to 2012, there were 39 swimmers caught in drains at the bottom of pools. Two people died as a result of this "circulation entrapment," in which the force of water rushing through the drain traps the swimmer. Three-fourths of those trapped were under 16.
Wasserman Schultz sponsored the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act,
which became law in 2007, making it the first federal pool and spa safety law.
The law established a federal swimming pool and spa drain cover standard and
other safety measures for pools nationwide.
Last year, Florida, Texas and California had the highest number of pool and spa deaths in children up to age 14, according to the U.S. Swimming report.
Organizations such as the Red Cross, YMCA, Abbey's Hope and the Josh Project provide free or low-cost swimming lessons to parents and children nationwide.
"Our overall goal is to reduce the number of child drowning across the country by training children to swim and educating parents on the critical importance of supervising children in and near the water," Wasserman Schultz said.
The weather is warming up in Arizona. Please, be careful out there. Remember, two seconds is too long.