Myth #3: “The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (VGB Act) focuses on entrapment because that is the leading cause of drowning.”
Facts: Unfortunately, an average of 385 children lose their lives playing in the pool each year and the CPSC has made preventing these terrible tragedies one of our highest priorities.
Are entrapments the primary cause of these incidents? No. While entrapments are the main focus of the VGB Act, they are a very serious but rare type of drowning incident. Of the roughly 3,400 drowning deaths that occur each year in the United States, entrapments account for about 1 per year. Of the 12 entrapment deaths since 1999, only 5 occurred at public pools or spas. Since only public pools and spas are addressed by the VGB Act, over half of entrapments would not even have been prevented by the Act.
That is why I am so excited that the CPSC has launched “Pool Safely,” a national public education campaign designed to raise public awareness, support industry compliance, and improve safety at pools and spas. Pool Safely emphasizes the importance of alert adult supervision and swimming lessons for children as well as learning CPR, installing pool alarms, and placing gated barriers around pools. Through Pool Safely, we are able to educate the public about many water safety practices to reduce the risks associated with children in and around pools and spas – not just entrapments.
Conclusion: The VGB Act addresses a rare, but serious type of drowning incident and we have implemented the law to address this issue. But the Commission has gone further to raise awareness and promote drowning prevention through a national public education campaign because entrapments are not the leading, nor even a significant cause of drowning. It’s too bad that the Pool Safety Council has not done the same and has only dedicated one sentence on their entire website to prevent the other ninety nine percent of the child drowning cases that were not due to entrapment.
Stay tuned next week for more myth’s!
And check out http://www.poolsafely.gov/ to learn more simple steps to save lives!