CPSC Launches "Pool Safely" Program to Prevent Drownings

The chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission is alarmed by the number of drownings and near-drownings in private swimming pools. The commission launched its "Pool Safely" campaign at a drowning prevention conference, as Ed Mayberry reports.

Commission chair Inez Tenenbaum told the National Drowning Prevention Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado, that too many incidents have been tracked since January 2010. 

"Just last year, we had 531 incidents in the United States. That was 256 deaths and 275 near-drownings. And in 2011, we've already had 32 drownings and 38 near-drownings."

So far this year Texas had nine incidents — four drownings and five near-drownings. Tenenbaum says for a start, kids need to be taught how to swim. She says the precautions are simple.

"Always watch your children and never leave them unattended around a pool or spa. You should install a fence around the perimeter of the pool. Every pool should have a self-closing and a self-latching gate. Make sure your drain is compliant and that it's always a good idea to have a back-up system that automatically turns off that pump if someone gets entrapped on the drain."

Tenenbaum says the "Pool Safely" program was created through the efforts of the family of former Secretary of State Jim Baker of Houston.

"Graeme Baker was former Secretary of State Jim Baker's granddaughter and she was killed when she was entrapped on a pool drain in a backyard residential pool. Mother and grandfather worked to get this bill passed, and President George W. Bush signed it, so we are working hard to make sure that another tragedy like Graeme's tragedy will not happen to other children in America." 

The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act mandates entrapment-proof drain covers.

Bio photo of Ed Mayberry

Ed Mayberry

Local Anchor, All Things Considered

Ed Mayberry has worked in radio since 1971, with many of those years spent on the rock 'n' roll disc jockey side of the business...