CONSUMER ALERT: SWIM SAFELY THIS SUMMER
LITTLE ROCK – The best relief for many Arkansans from the sweltering summer heat is a dip in the swimming pool or a trip to one of the Natural State’s lakes and rivers.
Though swimming can be a relaxing and refreshing way to pass the time this summer, there are always safety risks, especially for children. Since the school year is ending for many Arkansas students this week, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued this consumer alert today to encourage Arkansans to take proper precautions and swim safely.
About 10 people die every day in the United States from non-boating related drowning, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Small children have the highest drowning rates in the nation, with most of those drownings occurring in home swimming pools. For children ages 1 to 14, drowning is the second-leading cause of death due to unintentional injury, behind car crashes.
“Drowning deaths are preventable, especially when children swim with adult supervision and adults act responsibly in and around the water,” McDaniel said. “Public swimming pool operators should know and fulfill their legal responsibilities as well.”
Studies show that drowning risk in children decreases when children take part in formal swimming lessons. Municipalities and community organizations commonly offer swimming lessons to both children and adults.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s swimming pool safety website, www.poolsafely.gov, provides in-depth information on swimming safety and federal regulation of public swimming pools. The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, passed by Congress in 2007, requires all public pools and spas to have drain covers to prevent accidental entrapment.
The Arkansas Department of Health regulates all commercial pools and spas in the state. Among the Department’s regulations is one which requires that all public pools must be enclosed by a fence or barrier that is at least four feet high. For more information about state requirements, visit www.healthy.arkansas.gov.
McDaniel shared these additional tips for staying safe in pools:
- Make sure children know how to swim.
- Keep children stay away from pool drains and pipes to avoid entrapments.
- Always have a responsible adult present when a child is swimming. Experts recommend that adults be close enough to preschoolers that they can reach out to them at all times.
- Remember that drowning occurs quickly and quietly, so supervising adults should not be involved in any distracting activities while at the pool with children.
- When at a public pool, make sure lifeguards are present.
- Always have a telephone nearby when swimming in case of an emergency.
- Learn CPR in order to be able to assist in the event of a pool emergency.
For more information on this and other consumer issues, contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at (800) 482-8982. Visit the Consumer Protection Division’s website, www.GotYourBackArkansas.org.