For Immediate Release: May 25, 2012

Lock, Look, Learn About Water Safety

Safe Kids North Carolina offers tips to reduce child drownings

RALEIGH -- Safe Kids North Carolina, a statewide coalition housed in the North Carolina Department of Insurance Office of State Fire Marshal, is reminding parents and caregivers about important safety tips in an effort to reduce child drownings, near-drownings and entrapments in swimming pools and spas.

An estimated 400 children age 14 and younger drown in swimming pools and spas each year across the U.S. A Consumer Product Safety Commission study found that 2,000 children are treated annually in hospital emergency rooms for submersion injuries sustained in familiar surroundings, with a majority of those victims being supervised by one or both parents at the time of the accident.

"A fun day at the pool or spa can very quickly turn dangerous if we are not vigilant about water safety practices," said Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, chair of Safe Kids North Carolina. "As parents and caregivers, we must take active responsibility for our children’s safety in and around the water."

Safe Kids North Carolina reminds parents and caregivers to Lock, Look and Learn:

LOCK – Homeowners should put up a fence that is at least 4-feet high around all sides of a pool or spa with a locking gate that closes and latches by itself. Homeowners should cover and lock pools and spas when they are not using them, and also remove or lock ladders to above-ground pools and spas when not in use.

LOOK – Adults and caregivers must always watch children — whether the children know how to swim or not — when kids are in or near water without being distracted by phone calls, text messages, reading or talking to others. If a child is missing, look in the water first.

LEARN – Children and adults should know how to swim. Adults should learn how to use rescue equipment and correctly choose and use U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets. Caregivers should learn adult and infant CPR and teach children to never swim alone or swim near pool or spa drains.

For more detailed information about the Safe Kids Lock, Look and Learn program, go to http://www.safekids.org/parents/ and select the Water Safety Guide.

Safe Kids North Carolina reaches out to parents, caregivers and children in 66 counties served by 38 coalitions across the state. Through these coalitions and partnerships, more than six million people have access to Safe Kids North Carolina programming. For more safety tips and information about Safe Kids North Carolina, visit www.ncsafekids.org.

--NCSK--