For Immediate Release: May 23, 2014

Water, Water Everywhere…So Put Safety First!

Safe Kids North Carolina offers tips to reduce child drownings in all bodies of water.

RALEIGH -- Safe Kids North Carolina, a statewide program housed within 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, spas and other bodies of water.

"With the approach of the holiday weekend and the natural beauty of North Carolina, many families will be drawn to activities near water," said Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, chair of Safe Kids North Carolina. "We want parents and caregivers to be particularly cautious and take steps to avoid any potential tragedies."

According to the N.C. Division of Public Health, 138 children under the age of 18 died as the result of unintentional drowning in North Carolina between 2008 and 2012. Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children under age 5 nationally, with rates even surpassing those of traffic accident fatalities in recent years. Many of the children treated in hospital emergency rooms for submersion injuries were being supervised by one or both parents at the time of the accident.*

Safe Kids North Carolina reminds parents and caregivers to take the following precautions:

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 water safety, go to http://www.safekids.org/water-safety.

Safe Kids North Carolina reaches out to parents, caregivers and children in 71 counties served by 41 coalitions in 71 counties across the state. For more safety tips and information about Safe Kids North Carolina, visit www.ncsafekids.org

* According to a study by the Consumer Product Safety Commission

--NCDOI--