On Thursday, July 15, the DuPage County Department of Health (DCHD) and more than 30 Illinois agencies and organizations will participate in the first annual Pool Safety Day to raise awareness of water safety and prevent drowning of children.
As families enjoy the beaches, pools, lakes and other bodies of water, we urge parents and caregivers to be extra vigilant and Pool Safe to keep children safe and to avoid any potential tragedy this summer, “said Karen Ayala, executive director of DuPage County. Department of Health.
Drowning continues to be one of the leading causes of unintentional death in children. This year, six Illinois children drowned in swimming pools or open water, media reports said. Of those tragic deaths, four were linked to the swimming pool and involved children between the ages of 1 and 5. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that across the country, between 2016 and 2018, 75 percent of reported fatal drownings involved children under the age of five, and the majority of those drownings occurred in residential swimming pools.
Additionally, 18 Illinois children, ages 1 to 16, have drowned to death since June 2020. It is notable that 16 of the 18 Illinois children who drowned were boys. Children (ages 6 to 11) and teens (ages 12 to 17) are more likely to drown in open waters, such as retention ponds, rivers, inland lakes, and Lake Michigan. This Safe Pool Day has one purpose, to keep children safe when they are near the water.
Parents and caregivers are reminded to follow Pool Safely’s simple steps:
• Teach children to swim. Swimming lessons for infants, children, adults, groups and adapted are offered in the swimming pools of our region.
• Never leave a child unattended in or near water. If a young child is missing, check the water first.
• Designate an adult water supervisor to supervise children who swim. Children of all ages should be taught not to enter the water unless a water supervisor is present.
• Make sure any pool or spa / hot tub you use has drain covers that meet federal safety standards.
Avoid entrapment by teaching children to stay away from pool drains and pipes. Keep long hair, swimsuit straps, and drawstrings away from drains.
Keep children out of the water by installing door alarms, pool motion detectors, and fencing around all four sides of pools.
• Make sure older children and teens wear life jackets and stay away from strong currents in lakes and rivers. Swim only in the presence of a lifeguard.
In 2021, DCHD received a second federal grant from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Through the Pool Safely 10M initiative, DCHD aims to prevent child drowning through regional education, awareness and vocational training.
For more information visit http://www.dupagehealth.org/231/Pool-Safely.