(CPSC news release) According to information compiled from media reports and released Thursday by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's Pool Safely campaign, 137 children younger than 15 years of age drowned in a pool or spa during the traditional summer season of Memorial Day to Labor Day this year.
According to the CPSC news release:
An additional 168 children of that age required emergency response for near-fatal incidents in pools or spas during that period.
"These figures are a strong indication that child drownings are a serious public health problem," CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum said. "We are losing too many children to drowning, tragically cutting short these young lives and leaving families devastated. While summer is ending, our vigilance in ensuring that all children pool safely must not end. With so many indoor community pools, hotel pools and spas, indoor waterparks, as well as outdoor pools that remain open in warm-weather states, we must continue our efforts to remind everyone to pool safely whenever they are near the water."
The media figures for this summer show that 54 of these drownings occurred soon after the children left an adult who was in their immediate vicinity, and 31 children drowned despite the presence of others at the pool.
In addition, the media reports from this summer are consistent with CPSC's annual reports in showing that young children and toddlers are especially vulnerable to drowning - at least 100 of the 137 children who drowned were younger than five. Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death among children one to four years of age.
Not every child drowning is reported on or tracked by the media. In turn, it takes time for CPSC to compile data of all child drownings from around the country. Each May, CPSC releases reports for drownings and non-fatal submersions for children younger than 15 years of age. CPSC data from 2007 to 2009 shows an annual average of 243 children drowned in pools or spas during the summer months, which is about 63 percent of the average annual drowning figures for these years.
Read the entire CPSC news release HERE.