PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
July 3, 2013

Mary E. O'Dowd, M.P.H.
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

Christie Administration Partners with Private Sector to Promote Children’s Water Safety Initiative

 

Public Safety Education Effort Reminds Adults Never to Leave a Child Unattended Around Water

The New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) has launched a partnership with the private sector to educate the public about keeping small children safe around water when trying to beat the heat this summer, Commissioner Allison Blake announced today.

Drowning is one of the leading causes of child deaths every year. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children between the ages of one and four have the highest drowning rates. Most of these drownings occur in home swimming pools. 

"There are few things better than enjoying a swim in the pool to combat the summer heat. That's why it's so important for parents, caregivers and other adults to prevent a water tragedy before it happens," said DCF Commissioner Allison Blake. "While there are some simple things we can all do to make this summer fun and safe, the key message is never to leave a child unsupervised near a pool or any body of water, not even for a second." 

"We want every child in New Jersey to enjoy their summer whether they are in a pool or at the beach," said New Jersey Health Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd. "By reminding children and their parents to follow basic water safety steps, we can help ensure that summer fun does not turn into a trip to the emergency room or doctor's office."

The Department of Children and Families is providing cards listing pool safety tips and posters to pool retailers, hotels, and municipalities to distribute to pool buyers, hotel guests, and homeowners receiving pool construction permits. The material points out that a child can drown in just a few inches of water within seconds and without splashing or screaming and encourages adults to take the following simple steps: 

  • Never leave a child unattended around water.
  • Teach your child to swim at an early age - always have an ADULT supervising.
  • Flotation devices or inflatable toys are not substitutes for supervision.
  • Don't mix alcohol and supervision of children near water.
  • Enclose pools completely with a self-locking, self-closing fence, and don't leave furniture around that children can use to climb over the fence.
  • Never leave toys in the pool - children may be tempted to reach for them later.
  • Be sure that the adult watching your child knows how to swim, get emergency help, and perform CPR.
  • Keep rescue equipment (such as life preserver or shepherd's hook) and a telephone near the pool.
  • Be sure to remove pool covers completely to reduce the risk of children getting caught underneath.
  • Always drain and store in an upright position all plastic or blow-up wading pools after use.
  • Secure the pool so that children cannot get back in after they are finished swimming. 

The New Jersey Retail Merchants Association, New Jersey Hotel/Lodging Association, New Jersey Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and New Jersey Broadcasters Association are all partnering with DCF to advance the public education initiative. The New Jersey Retail Merchants Association and the New Jersey Hotel/Lodging Association are distributing posters and safety cards to their members and encouraging them to display the items in their stores. The American Academy of Pediatrics is providing the material to pediatricians and hospitals. The New Jersey Broadcasters Association is distributing a public service announcement recorded by Commissioner Blake for broadcast by the association's radio station members. 

Pool safety tip cards and posters are available in both English and Spanish by calling 609-292-0422. The material may also be downloaded directly from the DCF's website site at www.nj.gov/dcf

The Department of Health has developed a poster with tips on summer safety available at http://nj.gov/health/documents/summersafety.pdf.