When my seven year old son Tommy was going swimming with his summer camp, I bombarded him with the usual “mom” safety commandments – “Make sure an adult is there…swim with a buddy…and STAY AWAY FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE POOL.” After years of working on the advocacy effort for the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act, the dangers of drain entrapment are burned on my brain. The idea that a child could be helplessly stuck on to the drain while their parents were unable to free them still makes me shudder in disbelief.
This lesser known form of drowning was brought to the public’s attention several years ago by Nancy Baker, a remarkable and inspirational parent advocate who lost her daughter Graeme to an entrapment incident. The law that bears her child’s name has made pools and spas safer environments for all swimmers, and has educated countless individuals about the potential dangers lurking at the bottom of their own residential pool or public pool in their communities.This landmark act was also the catalyst for a recent nationwide public education effort – spearheaded by U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) – called Pool Safely.
Safe Kids USA joined the agency’s Pool Safely campaign as an inaugural partner to further our belief that water recreation can be fun and safe. The Pool Safely message is uncomplicated – simple steps, like actively supervising children around water or installing an anti-entrapment drain cover and other safeguards – can save lives. We were proud to work with the CPSC on a new kid’s online safety activity and a series of videos to help educate the public about the proper ways to pool safely. I hope you spend some time playing the game with your young kids and viewing the educational videos. As a mom of two little ones, I know safety isn’t always top of mind, but these resources serve as a gentle reminder that simple steps could ultimately be life saving.