|STATE OF CONNECTICUT
Department of Public Safety
1111 Country Club Road
Middletown, Connecticut 06457
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 7, 2011
Summer is a time of parties, cookouts and vacations and keeping Connecticut residents safe during this season is a top priority for the Connecticut State Police.
As summer begins and the temperatures rise, jumping into a pool or a cool natural water source offers great relief. That type of refreshment, however, can spell disaster if children are not properly supervised.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that an annual average of 383 pool- and spa-related drownings of children 14 and younger occurred from 2006-08. About three-quarters of those drownings involved children younger than age five. Each year, about 5,000 pool or spa-related injuries occurred for children 14 and younger.
Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths for children aged 14 and younger in the United States. A child can drown within seconds of going underwater, even in just one inch of water, often without any sounds or warning. Parents should be extremely vigilant whenever their children are near water.
Besides water safety, State Police remind residents that they should never leave their children unattended in a closed or locked motor vehicle. Parents, guardians, day care providers and babysitters should be educated about the dangers involved in leaving children in cars. Children are sometimes supervised less during the more relaxed summer months and may play in unlocked cars or trunks. Children should never be left in a locked car or have access to unlocked, parked vehicles or trunks.
During summer weather, temperatures inside of a car can rise into the triple digits in just a matter of minutes. Studies on thermal injury to children show that “dry heat” temperatures, within a closed vehicle, can become dangerous to small children and infants in only minutes. A high level of humidity can reduce that time by one half.
Body temperature in children increases three to five times faster than that of an adult, leaving them more vulnerable when left unattended or trapped inside a motor vehicle. Even temperatures as low as 60 degrees Fahrenheit can become dangerously high in an enclosed auto within minutes and can cause heatstroke or death.
As a reminder for the summer of 2011, the Connecticut State Police urges all drivers to never leave a child unattended inside a car. Under Connecticut law, leaving a child unsupervised in a motor vehicle could result in a felony charge.
While spending time outdoors, remember to wear a helmet for many activities. Adults and children should put on a helmet before getting on a bike, a scooter, a skateboard or a motorcycle.
Since elderly are especially susceptible to the high heat and humidity, make it a point to check on older neighbors and parents. Ensure that they are drinking plenty of water and staying out of the heat during peak temperature hours.
The Connecticut State Police has issued these vital tips for pool and swimming safety:
- Never leave children (even those who can swim) unattended in, around or near pools or other water sources – not even for a few moments. A child can drown in the moment it takes to answer a phone.
- Never swim alone. Use the buddy system and maintain eye contact.
- Keep pool area locked and secure when not in use.
- Swim only in supervised and approved areas.
- Keep rescue equipment near the pool. Have emergency flotation devices and a phone near the pool.
- Enroll children in swim lessons.
- Enforce water safety rules. No running, pushing or dunking.
- Never falsely claim to need help in the water.
- Take all toys out of the pool when not swimming so that children will not be tempted to go after the toys.
- Learn CPR and water rescue techniques.
- Have a professional inspect all entrapment hazards in the pool, including the pump and drain.
- Know and mark the location of the electrical cut-off switch for the pool pump.
As Connecticut residents cool down this summer, keeping safe at the pool, lake or Sound must remain a top priority. By following these simple rules, tragedy can be avoided throughout the state.
Lt. J. Paul Vance