FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

YMCA of the USA Helps Kick-Off Pool Safely Campaign

Public Safety Campaign Takes On The Leading Cause of Preventable Childhood Death and Injury

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) - the nation's consumer safety agency - has launched the Pool Safely campaign, a national public education effort to reduce child drownings and non-fatal submersions, and entrapments in pools and spas.

As a key supporter of the Virginia Graeme Pool and Spa Safety Act (P&SS Act) passed by Congress and signed into law in 2007, YMCA of the USA, the national resource office for the nation's 2,687 Ys, encourages everyone to Pool Safely this summer by creating a personal system of safety that consists of adding as many safety steps as possible in and around pools and spas.

"With thousands of residential pool and spa related injuries and hundreds of deaths each year, the Pool Safely campaign is a responsible reminder of how simple steps can save lives," said Mike Espino, Aquatics Safety Specialist for YMCA of the USA, a key supporter of the Pool Safely campaign. "Just adding an extra water safety step in and around pools and spas can make all the difference."

At a press conference on May 24th at the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Inez Tenenbaum, Chairman of the CPSC, was joined by U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chief House sponsor of the Act; Nancy Baker, the mother of the child honored by the Pool and Spa Safety Act; and Olympic Swimmers Jason Lezak and Janet Evans, to announce the Pool Safely campaign and discuss the call-to-action for the public and start of a national conversation about pool and spa safety.

The CPSC estimates each year nearly 300 children younger than five drown in swimming pools and spas and more than 4,200 children under the age of 15 go to hospital emergency rooms due to non-fatal submersions injuries. An unknown number of these hospitalizations result in permanent disability, including brain damage.

The greatest water safety assurance comes from adopting and practicing as many water safety measures as possible, including: parents staying within arm's reach of children, being alert and watching children in and around the pool; learning and practicing water safety skills (know how to swim and perform CPR); and having the appropriate equipment (compliant safety drain covers, alarms, fences and other barriers and sensors). The campaign will highlight the need to implement a "personal system of safety" consisting of as many proven water safety steps as possible.

"Our Pool Safely campaign will let consumers, industry, state and local officials, and other stakeholders know that we all have a role to play in keeping children safe from drowning and entrapment incidents," said Inez Tenenbaum, Chairman of CPSC. "We can make all pools and spas in the US safe for children and families."

The campaign is a key part of the CPSC's efforts to carry out the requirements of Section 1407 of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (P&SS Act). The legislation, signed into law in 2007, mandates new requirements for pool and spa safety, including a national public education campaign designed to raise public awareness, promote industry compliance and improve safety at pools and spas.

The campaign will continue throughout the year with multiple press events, announcements and initiatives. For more information and to stay updated with the campaign, visit www.poolsafely.gov. You can also follow the campaign on Twitter @poolsafely.

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About YMCA of the USA
YMCA of the USA is the national resource office for the nation's 2,687 YMCAs, which serve 21 million people each year, including more than 9 million children under the age of 18. YMCAs respond to critical social needs by drawing on their collective strength as one of America's largest not-for-profit community service organizations. Through a variety of programs and services focused on the holistic development of children and youth, family strengthening, and health and well-being for all, YMCAs unite men, women and children of all ages, faiths, backgrounds, abilities and income levels. From urban areas to small towns, YMCAs have proudly served America's communities for nearly 160 years by building healthy spirit, mind and body for all. Visit www.ymca.net to find your local YMCA.

Contact
Mamie Moore
YMCA of the USA
312-419-8325
mamie.moore@ymca.net

Friday, May 28, 20101

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