Earlier this month we reported that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), a government agency that tracks deaths in the United States, documented an increase in child drowning deaths over the last 4 years. Specifically, the CPSC says that because of the ongoing coronavirus shutdowns, more children are spending more time at home this summer, which leads to an increased risk.
Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says about ten people die from unintentional drowning, with 2 of these represented by children aged 14 or younger. Drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death for people of all ages, and the second leading cause of injury death for children ages 1 to 14 years. (CDC)
These statistics particularly hit home for East Brunswick, New Jersey after 4 people died in 2 separate backyard pool drowning incidents already this summer. In response, the city is drafting a program offering free swimming lessons in order to prevent tragedies such as these from happening.
“(The deaths) puts a spotlight on drowning and the ability to be able to swim. So many people today don’t know how to swim, whether it’s children or adults,” Mayor Brad Cohen told NJ Advance Media.
“It’s tragic but to me, that points to, let’s get people lessons on how to survive and be able to swim. You can’t let something like that happen again because they didn’t have the training,” Cohen said.
“It happened in East Brunswick, but it could have happened in any town,” Cohen said. “I hope other towns look at what we’re doing and think, ‘that could have happened to us too.”
The city is currently seeking partnerships to make the community swim lessons a reality.