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The National Drowning Prevention Alliance urges public pool managers to install needed drain replacements promptly to provide a full season of swimming lessons

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. May 26, 2011— The National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA) Board of Directors supports the Consumer Products Safety Commission’s (CPSC) recent recall of one million pool and spa drain covers which were incorrectly rated for the flow of water they could handle, which could pose a possible entrapment hazard to swimmers.

“The National Drowning Prevention Alliance was pleased when CPSC Chairman Inez M. Tenenbaum announced that there were no reported entrapment fatalities for 2010, and only three reports of entrapment injury,” said Executive Director Kim Burgess, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

 While the recall only affects public swimming facilities, the NDPA wants consumers to be aware that drain entrapment hazards exist in many backyard pools and in-ground spas as well. “We urge residential pool owners to contact their pool service technician to see if their drain covers should be replaced,” says Burgess, adding: “Also, teach your children to never play with or around pool drains, in either residential or public pools and if a drain cover is broken, don’t use the pool until it has been repaired. ”

At a May 26 press conference in Chula Vista, Calif., Chairman Tenenbaum also announced that an annual average of 383 children younger than 15 drowned in pool and spas from 2006 to 2008 and that 76 percent of those deaths were to children younger than 5.

Moreover, from 2008 to 2010, hospital emergency departments treated an average of 5,100 submersion-injured children younger than 15 annually in pool or spa related incidents. Seventy-nine percent of these injuries were to children younger than 5, according to the CPSC.

“The risk of drowning remains unacceptably high, especially for young children,” said Burgess. “That’s why the National Drowning Prevention Alliance advocates for water safety skills, and the availability of formal swimming lessons for all children and adults, as a crucial safety initiative.”

Burgess adds that, last May, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reversed its long held stand against water safety skills for children younger than 4.

In view of this, the National Drowning Prevention Alliance Board of Directors is concerned about the potential closing of swimming facilities while recalled drains are being replaced, since this could adversely affect the availability of swimming lessons in some communities.

Therefore, the NDPA urges all public pool owners, operators, managers and service technicians to quickly determine if their drain covers have been recalled.  If so, arrange for appropriate replacement covers to be installed immediately, so that swimming facilities may resume offering swimming lessons as soon as possible.

The CPSC states: “Pool owners/operators and consumers who have one of the recalled pool or spa drain covers should immediately contact the manufacturer to receive a replacement or retrofit, depending on their make and model. Except for kiddie pools, wading pools and in-ground spas, retrofit or replacement of installed covers is not required in pools with multiple drain systems or gravity drainage systems or for covers installed before December 19, 2008.

The recall does not apply to every pool and spa drain. Therefore it is important to first check with the manufacturer or with CPSC before taking any action. For more information, call the Drain Cover Recall Hotline toll-free at 866-478-3521 any time, or visit the Drain Cover Recall website at www.apsp.org/draincoverrecall.

The recall notice is available on CPSC's web site: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml11/11230.html.

The National Drowning Prevention Alliance advises parents and pool owners to follow the Safer 3
program for aquatic safety:
1.    Safer Water—prevent children’s unsupervised access to water with barriers and alarms. Install upgraded drain covers to prevent entrapment.
2.    Safer Kids—supervise children carefully when they are in or around water and teach them water safety rules and how to swim well. Teach them to stay away from drains.
3.    Safer Response—be prepared for an emergency by having a phone and reaching assist devices by the pool. Learn CPR so you know what to do while waiting for help to arrive.

Parents and pool owners are also encouraged to download the free resource, “Layers of Protection,” at NDPA.org and to visit Pool Safely.gov for safety tips, informational videos and children’s games and activities.
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The National Drowning Prevention Alliance is a volunteer-driven 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization founded in 2004. NDPA members are dedicated to preventing drowning for all age groups in all bodies of water through public education, advocacy and strategic partnerships. The public is invited to join by visiting NDPA.org.

The Pool Safely campaign fulfills requirements of Section 1407 of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (P&SS Act). The 2007 law is named for the 7-year-old granddaughter of former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker who drowned in 2002 when she became trapped on an in-ground spa drain.

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