I write to bring your attention to the YMCA and National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) event regarding water safety and drowning prevention. In our country, two children die every single day from drowning. In fact, drowning is the leading cause
of injury-related death for children 1 to 4 years of age and the second leading cause of death for children ages 5 to 14. Minority children are especially impacted: 60% of African American children and 45% of Hispanic/Latino children cannot swim, compared
with 40% of white children cannot swim.
Most of these tragic deaths are preventable. The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act authorizes the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to manage the
Pool Safely National Public Education Campaign and the Pool Safely Grant Program, which aim to help prevent the drowning and drain entrapments of children in pools and spas by assisting state and local governments in implementing enforcement
and education programs. By partnering with national provider organizations, such as YMCA and NRPA, we can ensure the efficient and successful dissemination of these funds to communities nationwide.
These national provider organizations are committed to making drowning prevention a national priority, not only to prevent these deaths but also ensure that all children can safely enjoy the health and recreational benefits of swimming and other water-based
activities, and experience the confidence and resiliency that comes from learning how to swim. Both organizations are committed to promoting the health benefits of swimming and supporting drowning prevention efforts by:
- Educating community members about drowning prevention strategies and engaging them in opportunities for drowning prevention and swim lesson programs;
- Providing safe spaces and opportunities for indoor and outdoor swimming and water-based recreational activities;
- Encouraging investments in drowning prevention education and tools for dissemination in local communities; and
- Engaging and partnering with public officials, public health departments and first responders in drowning prevention advocacy.
I hope you will be able to attend this important event. Together, we can reverse the trend of children dying from drowning and help to ensure a safe and healthy summer for all youth.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Member of Congress