Michigan Recognizes National Safe Kids Week May 6-13

Contact: T.J. Bucholz (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

May 5, 2006

Safe Kids Michigan, led by the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) and Safe Kids Worldwide, today announced its recognition of National Safe Kids Week May 6-13.

Founded in 1995, Safe Kids Michigan will be focusing on this year’s theme of Safe Pools for Safe Kids. Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death among children ages 1 to 14, with pool and spa drains being a little known culprit.

Findings from a recent national study conducted by Safe Kids Worldwide, showed 66 percent of parents are not at all aware or are only somewhat familiar with the risk of a child becoming entrapped or entangled in the drain of a pool or spa.

“Most of us are educated on-and take appropriate steps to prevent-the typical causes of drowning such as children being left unattended in a bath tub, swimming pool, or other source of water,” said Janet Olszewski, MDCH Director. “But few realize how easy it can be for even supervised children to become entrapped in the powerful drain of a pool or spa.”

Entrapment occurs when part of a child’s body becomes attached to a drain because of the powerful suction of a pool or spa’s filtration system. It also can occur when a child’s hair or swimsuit gets tangled in the drain or on an underwater object, such as a ladder.

“A child is no match for the forceful suction of a drain,” said Jeff Spitzley, Safe Kids Michigan coordinator. “With the right equipment and knowledge, children can easily be protected from this risk. Parents should warn their children to stay away from drains and install safety devices if they own a pool or spa.”

Current data shows one out of two parents, or 49 percent, report that they have a pool or spa at home. With pool and spa ownership becoming more popular, informing parents and caregivers is essential.

Through public awareness activities like National Safe Kids Week, Safe Kids Michigan seeks to educate parents and caregivers about potential risks to children and adults’ role in preventing injuries. National Safe Kids Week has been held annually for 13 years.

For more information on Safe Kids Worldwide, or for a copy of the research report, please visit www.usa.safekids.org. To obtain more information about Safe Kids Michigan, please contact Jeff Spitzley at (517) 335-8183 or spitzleyj2@michigan.gov.