Office of the Governor
Drowning Prevention Month
This Summer, many Californians will enjoy outdoor activities involving water and swimming. Our Golden State has abundant sources of water, including hundreds of miles of Pacific Ocean coastline, beautiful rivers, lakes and aqueducts and communities with swimming pools. I urge Californians to enjoy these resources and the warm weather, while also being safe and vigilant to prevent drowning.
According to the Drowning Prevention Foundation, drowning is the leading cause of injury-related deaths among Californian children ages four and under, with an average of 51 new deaths per year. Children and adults who survive near-drowning accidents often suffer permanent brain damage. The California Department of Developmental Services (DDS) currently provides services to 775 survivors of near-drowning accidents who require lifelong assistance for their disabilities.
Knowing how to prevent drowning is a critical step in keeping children safe. Teach them survival skills, ensure they have constant supervision by an adult in and around water, install isolation fencing and alarms around pool areas and know how to respond in an emergency. Basic training in water rescue skills, first aid, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) could save a life.
Governor of the State of California.
April 18, 2017
Senator Jose Newman
Sacramento, CA 95814
Re: SB 442 (Newman) Pool Drowning Prevention – Co-Sponsor and Support
The Drowning Prevention Foundation is one of the oldest and leading organizations working on ending drowning incidents in California. We are proud to co-sponsor and support SB 442 and your efforts to protect California’s young children from residential pool drowning. Your bill provides an important update to our twenty year old Pool Safety Act, which we were involved in passing back in 1996. This bill, SB 442, covers one of the Top Ten issues lifted from the CA Unintentional Injury Prevention Strategic Plan Project. Unintentional injury is the leading cause of death and hospitalization for California’s children and youth ages 1-19 and the leading cause of injury related death for babies and infants. Drowning is the leading cause of injury related deaths for California’s children ages one to four.
For every one child that drowns and dies, 4-5 others are hospitalized due to suffering a “near-drowning” incident, which can lead to life-long brain damage due to lack of oxygen during the drowning incident. One near drowning victim with brain damage can result in more than $5 million in hospital costs.
Drowning incidents cost California’s health care system more than $195 million a year. There are many other healthcare and societal costs association with near drowning not reflected in the $195 million annual price tag. For example near drowning survivors make up one of the largest populations cared for by California’s Department of Developmental Services (DDS). DDS reports it has more than 770 near downing clients on its current roster of those being cared for by DDS.
SB 442 updates one of our state’s efforts to end residential pool drowning or at least make it a very rare event. The bill does four things:
- There are seven different types of pool safety barrier options available to pool owners. Pool safety barriers prevent children from getting to a residential pool unsupervised and range from door alarms, in-pool alarms, isolations fencing, to safety covers. This bill increases the required number of safety barriers preventing a child from getting to a pool unsupervised from one barrier to two, but retains the pool owner’s option to choose the barriers that work for their pool
- Pool door alarms currently allow only a shrill siren noise. The bill allows pool owners the option of using a shrill door alarm or an audible warning (“Door to pool is open, Door to pool is open, …..)
- The bill makes compliance with the Pool Safety Act an item for the disclosure and defect homeowner report upon the sale of a home with a pool, instead of a condition upon the sale of the home. California’s Realtor Industry association recommended the disclosure format as the most effect format upon sale of a home, and with that amendment removed opposition to the bill.
- The bill brings uniformity to residential pool safety laws and ordinances by providing the state law as the standard for pool safety.
If you have any questions about the Drowning Prevention Foundation or our support for SB 442 contact Board Member Cathy Barankin at email@example.com.
Nadina Riggsbee, Founder and President
Drowning Prevention Foundation