Does Congress Really Care About Our Kids?

Swimmy_7Last year, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla) introduced legislation to help protect our children around pools.  It failed by nine votes during the last few hours the House of Representatives was in session.  Rep. Wasserman Schultz is now reintroducing the bill.  Entitled The Pool and Spa Safety Act (HR 1721), the legislation would provide grants to states which require all swimming pools and spas to have these layers of protection:

  1. Installation of physical barriers (such as a fence) around a pool to prevent children’s unattended access.
  2.   Mandates pools to be equipped with a suction outlet drain cover which prevents hair and body entanglement.
  3.   Requires the installation of a safety vacuum release system, shutting off a pump if it detects a blockage.
  4. Public awareness campaign regarding the importance of active supervision of children at or near a pool.

Given the recent spate of drowning in the news, you would think this would be a no-brainer. But what’s interesting is that a large percentage of people still don’t understand how dangerous a pool can be.  According to a new survey by The Home Safety Council, less than half (49%) of U.S. adults actively supervise children when they are in or near water. There are probably several reasons for this:

  • Parents are having their children wear flotation devises which give a false sense of security
  • The child has taken swim lessons and/ or knows how to swim so the parents feel he or she no longer needs supervision
  • Parents become distracted by friends, other children, the phone or the doorbell

If we as parents don’t recognize how dangerous a pool can be, how will congress understand the urgency to pass this legislation?

The good news is that some states are addressing this problem on their own. Most recently, New York state passed a law which requires an alarm be installed on any pool constructed after December, 2006.

At Peek-a-Boo Baby Proofing, we started carrying and installing Baby Guard removable mesh pool fencing after two children drowned in a nearby town.  We felt it was our responsibility as child safety experts to educate parents about the need for layers of safety when it comes to pools. (Perhaps we need to go to Washington and educate our representatives as well!)

With drowning being the second-leading cause of unintentional, injury-related death for children under the age of 5, we as parents need to start recognizing how dangerous a pool can be. Unfortunately the most recent incidents have involved children drowning in a neighbor’s pool so it is crucial that everyone have layers of safety for their pool. Let your Congressional representative know that this is a priority to you as a parent and let’s all help save some lives!  

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7 Comments

Filed under Pool Safety

7 responses to “Does Congress Really Care About Our Kids?

  1. Dear Alison,
    Wonderful segment on News 12 on pool safety. Have you seen the book Stewie the Duck Learns to Swim? It’s a perfect tool to teach parents and adults. Check out the website stewietheduck.com. Contact me and I’ll send you a book. Doreen Miner

  2. Only 49% of parents are watching their kids at the pool?!?! That’s scary! We need to draw attention to that number, Alison and start saving more lives!

  3. One thing that crosses my mind when I hear of children drowning in backyard pools is – where are the parents? Each accident is a tragedy and we need to do all that we can to prevent them from being able to happen, but parents need to watch their kids. Don’t ever think your 3 or 4 year old is beyond a pool accident no matter how many swimming lessons that they have. There’s no count on how many lives Congress would be saving by mandating pool fencing and safety education.

  4. Great Posting!! My attention is always on my son whenever he is in a pool. He’s a great swimmer but just to be sure. Information is the key. If more parents knew how often this happened they might be a little more present when their kids are in danger.

  5. Unfortunately, parents do become more complacent once their children have learned how to swim. The reality is that they could panic if something happens and you can never assume they won’t drown just becase they know how to swim.

  6. Renee

    Great posting, wonderful awareness. Unfortunately, in the case of entrapment, a mom could be holding her child’s hand and tragedy can occur.
    The vacuum force on the pool filtering system is unbelievably powerful. In some cases two or more adults were unable to pull children off of the drain before they drowned.
    That is why the layers of protection are necessary for these pools and spas.

  7. Renee

    Great posting, wonderful awareness. Unfortunately, in the case of entrapment, a mom could be holding her child’s hand and tragedy can occur.
    The vacuum force on the pool filtering system is unbelievably powerful. In some cases two or more adults were unable to pull children off of the drain before they drowned.
    That is why the layers of protection are necessary for these pools and spas.

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