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Water Safety Policy Brief

By the Numbers

Advocacy at Work

Swimming Competency

For their enjoyment and their safety, all children should learn to swim. There is a significant disparity between white children and those who are African-American or Hispanic. Safe Kids has been a partner with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in “Pool Safely,” the agency’s annual pool safety programs. It focused on underserved communities in 2012. Our joint efforts focus on water safety in homes and around pools, and on teaching swimming and CPR.

Policy Prescription

Swimming Pool Safety

Safe Kids worked with Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz to pass the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act. The law established standards for the way drains in pools and spas are designed. The legislation was inspired by the tragedy of Virginia Graeme Baker, the 7-year-old granddaughter of former Secretary of State James Baker IV. She was pulled under the water in a spa by the powerful suction of the drain and drowned as her mother desperately tried to save her. The law, championed by Virginia’s mother, Nancy Baker, also created a grant program to help states adopt pool and spa safety laws and education programs about safe water practices. The law was signed into law by President George W. Bush in December 2007. The CPSC is responsible for enforcing the pool bill.

Life Jacket Use While Boating

It is the law in 48 of the 50 states that kids must wear life jackets on vessels in a federal waterway. Safe Kids supports vigilant enforcement and passage of mandatory life jackets for kids in the two states without a law: Virginia and Wisconsin.

Distracted Boating

Safe Kids supports the actions of the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board to stop the use of cell phones and wireless devices while operating a vessel.

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