information provided by the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (July 19, 2019) – Extremely hot and muggy weather is forecast across Illinois this weekend, meaning many people will head to the pool. Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children ages 1-4 according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
In 2018 between Memorial Day and Labor Day, at least 148 children younger than 15 fatally drowned in swimming pools or spas according to the USA Swimming Foundation across the United States. In Illinois during that same time period, 6 children under the age of 15 drowned.
A national Pool Safety campaign run by the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) was launched in 2010. This campaign was mandated by the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act and helps provide safety information for parents, caregivers, and pool owners. The act was named after Virginia Graeme Baker, a seven-year-old girl who drowned after she was trapped under water by a powerful suction from a hot tub drain.
Here are some simple steps to keep children safer in and around the water:
- Install a four-sided fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate around all pools and spas. Always check to make sure the gate is locked or closed when leaving the pool or spa.
- Keep the pool and deck clear of floats, balls, and toys after you leave the pool.
- Always swim with a buddy.
- Designate an adult Water Watcher to supervise children at all times around the water. Stay off your phone, put your book down, and pay attention to whoever is in or around the water.
- Never leave a child unattended in or near water.
- Learn how to swim, and teach your child how to swim.
- Learn how to perform CPR on children and adults
- Teach children to stay away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments
- Ensure any pool or spa you use has drain covers that comply with federal safety standards. If you do not know, ask your pool service provider about safer drain covers.