Drowning is one of the leading causes of child deaths every year.  Children between the ages of 1and 4 have the highest drowning rates according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Most of the drownings occur in home swimming pools.  The New Jersey Department of Children and Families has launched a partnership with the private sector to educate the public about keeping small children safe around water this summer.

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"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 Department of Children and Families 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."

As part of the effort, the Department of Children and Families will provide 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.  It encourages adults to take the following 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.