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Water Safety Policy Brief
By the Numbers
- A young child can drown in just one inch of water.
- Drowning is the leading cause of accidental injury death among children ages 1 to 4.
- For every child who dies from unintentional drowning, six more are treated in emergency rooms.
- Infants most commonly drown in bathtubs or large buckets.
- For children ages 1 to 4, swimming pools are the most common place for a drowning to occur.
- African-American kids ages 5 to 14 are almost three times more likely to drown than white children. Hispanic children also have a higher rate of drowning.
Advocacy at Work
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.
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.
More Information About Water Safety