On the first full day of summer, Human Services Commissioner Kevin M. Ryan is reminding parents that they should never – not even for a minute – leave young children unattended near water or in cars.
“Drowning is a leading cause of child deaths every year, and it can be prevented if we are vigilant,” said Commissioner Ryan. “Obviously, drowning is a year-round concern, especially for young children, but it seems the dangers increase in the summer when children and their families are likely to be at the shore or around swimming pools.”
According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related deaths among children ages 1 to 14; and among children ages 1 to 4, most drownings occur in residential swimming pools. Most children who drowned in pools had been out of sight for less than five minutes and had last been seen in the home or out of the water.
Commissioner Ryan also wants to remind parents about the dangers of leaving children unattended in or near cars this summer. Several children in New Jersey have been killed or injured in the past several years after being trapped in cars. In some cases, the children were left there by parents while in others the children wandered into the cars themselves.
“Even on a moderate day, with the temperature in the 70s, the inside of a car can heat up to 125 degrees within 15 minutes,” said Commissioner Ryan. “So it's never a good idea to leave a child unattended in a car, and if there are cars near where children play, parents must be vigilant and make sure that kids cannot get into them.”
Commissioner Ryan stressed the following water safety tips for parents:
• Always have an ADULT supervising young swimmers.
• Never leave a child alone around water. Children are drawn to it, and very young children can drown in just an inch of water.
• Flotation devices or inflatable toys are not substitutes for supervision
• Teach your child to swim at an early age.
• Obey all posted or verbal rules, warning signs and other safety signs.
• Don't mix alcohol and supervision of children near water.
• Always drain and store in an upright position all plastic or blow-up wading pools after each use.
• Enclose pools completely with a self-locking, self-closing fence, and do not leave furniture around that children can use to climb over the fence.
• Be sure to remove pool covers completely to reduce the risk of children getting caught underneath.
A fact sheet and additional water safety tips are attached to this release.
More information is available through the Northeast Spa and Pool Association (NESPA), a trade organization for swimming pool builders and retailers that distributes safety information to its members and consumers every year. On the Internet, go to http://nespapool.org/safety.html.