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Fewer kids took swim lessons during COVID-19, putting them at risk this summer

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ABC7 Fort Myers
ABC7 Fort Myers
 2021-06-08
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Fewer kids took swimming lessons during the COVID-19 pandemic which has put them at risk, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

As families return to community pools and warm-weather activities, CPSC officials are urging parents to take water safety seriously.

“As we enter the summer months, parents and caregivers must be mindful of the pandemic’s impact on their children’s swimming ability and water safety skills,” said CPSC Acting Chairman Robert Adler. “With fewer children attending swimming lessons during the past year, it is critical to refresh these and others the life-saving skills, while practicing increased vigilance both anywhere children are swimming and during non-swim times as well.”

CPSC’s report shows that number of pool-or spa-related, hospital emergency department-treated, nonfatal drowning injuries decreased from 6,300 injuries in 2019 to 5,800 injuries in 2020. However, researchers said that is the result of limitations on activities like public swimming during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parents and caregivers can follow Pool Safely’s simple steps to help prevent fatal and nonfatal drownings:

  • Never leave a child unattended in or near water, and always designate an adult Water Watcher. This person should not be reading, texting, using a smartphone, or be otherwise distracted. In addition to pools and spas, this warning includes bathtubs, buckets, decorative ponds, and fountains.
  • If you own a pool or spa, install layers of barriers to prevent the unsupervised child from accessing the water. Homes can use door alarms, pool covers, and self-closing, self-latching devices on doors that access the pools and on gates of four-sided fences.
  • Learn how to perform CPR on children and adults. Many communities offer online CPR training.
  • Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim.
  • Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments.
  • Ensure any pool and spa you use has drain covers that comply with federal safety standards and if you do not know, ask your pool service provider about safer drain covers.
  • Visit Pool Safely’s Kids’ Corner to keep children entertained and educated with virtual water safety games and activities.
  • Take Pool Safely‘s Pledge as a family, and find customized water safety resources using the Pool Safely Safer Water Information Match (S.W.I.M.) tool.

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