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Safe Kids North Carolina, a statewide coalition housed in the North Carolina Department of Insurance Office of State Fire Marshal, recently announced a new pool safety program that aims to keep children safe in the water this swimming season and throughout the year. Partnering with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Safe Kids North Carolina plans to make pool safety a priority by advocating the adoption of simple water safety steps with its Pool Safely: Simple Steps Save Lives campaign.

"As the summer months approach, I want to ensure that anyone using a pool or a spa implements a personal system of safety that consists of adding as many proven water safety practices as possible," said Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, chair of Safe Kids North Carolina. "There are easy steps that everyone can take to decrease what has become the leading cause of accidental death in the home of children under five."

The main goals of the campaign are to raise public awareness about drowning and entrapment prevention, support industry compliance with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, and improve safety at pools and spas.

Some of the simple steps that can save lives are:

  • Having an adult actively supervise any time children are near, or in, any type of water
  • Installing barriers that completely surround the pool with self-closing, self-latching gates
  • Staying close, being alert and watching children at the pool
  • Learning and practicing water safety skills (knowing how to swim and perform CPR)
  • Having the appropriate safety equipment (compliant drain covers, alarms, barriers and sensors)

With an estimated 300 children five-years-old and younger drowning in swimming pools and spas each year, the Pool Safely campaign is a first-of-its-kind national public education effort to reduce child drownings, near-drownings and entrapments in swimming pools and spas. A comprehensive CPSC study found that 2,000 children are treated annually in hospital emergency rooms for submersion injuries sustained in familiar surroundings, with a majority of those victims being supervised by one or both parents at the time of the accident.

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