NEWARK – The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and New Jersey's county and municipal Consumer Affairs Local Assistance (CALA) offices today launched Summer Safety Week with important tips on pool and swimming safety for New Jersey residents.
"Everyone should take their kids to the pool or beach this summer – and everyone should keep the season fun by observing basic tips for safety," Division of Consumer Affairs Acting Director Steve Lee said. "Especially when supervising small children, even a moment's distraction when they are near the water can put them at risk. Fortunately, with basic awareness it is not hard to have a safe and responsible summer."
Last summer, between Memorial Day and Labor Day 2014, at least 175 children nationwide between the ages of one and 14 drowned in swimming pools or spas, according to media reports compiled by the USA Swimming Foundation. Of the 174 reports, 112 victims were children younger than five.
Drowning deaths for very young children are most likely to happen in the home or backyard. According to a national study of drowning-related accidents involving children, a parent or caregiver claimed to be supervising the child in nearly nine out of 10 drowning-related deaths. Anyone who is watching children in a pool, spa, or bath should not talk on the phone, text, or read.
The CPSC's Pool Safely campaign provides information on the simple steps that parents, caregivers, and pool owners should take to ensure that children and adults stay safer in and around pools and spas. The CPSC invites everyone to visit www.PoolSafely.gov/Pledge to take the pledge to help reduce drownings in the United States.
CPSC's Top 10 Tips to Stay Safe Around the Pool or Spa this Summer:
- Never leave a child unattended in or near a pool or spa and always watch your children closely around all bodies of water. Designate a Water Watcher to supervise children in the pool or spa. This person should not be reading, texting, using a smart phone or be otherwise distracted. Adults can take turns being a Water Watcher.
- Teach children basic water safety tips.
- If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first.
- 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 standards, and, if you do not know, ask your pool service provider whether your covers are in compliance
- Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim.
- Learn how to perform CPR on children and adults, and update those skills regularly.
- Install a four-foot or taller fence around the perimeter of the pool and spa and use self-closing and self-latching gates; ask your neighbors to do the same at their pools.
- Install and use a lockable safety cover on your spa.
- Have lifesaving equipment such as life rings, floats or a reaching pole available and easily accessible.
Additional Child Safety Tips at Beaches, Lakes, and Rivers from the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs:
- At beaches, lakes, and rivers, make sure your children swim only in areas designated for swimming.
- Don't let children dive into natural bodies of water; open water may have currents, undertow and hidden hazards under the surface.
- Always make sure your child wears a life jacket approved by the U.S. Coast Guard when riding in a boat. Wear one yourself – for your own safety and to set a good example.
- Avoid alcohol consumption when boating or swimming.
New Jersey's CALA offices work with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs to enforce New Jersey's Consumer Fraud Act, and related statutes and regulations, in each county that includes a CALA office. Consumers can file complaints by contacting their local CALA office or the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.
Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse, can file an
online complaint form with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504-6200.