|The City of Chula Vista has been selected by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to host the launch of the 2011 Pool Safely Campaign on May 26. The national public education effort will kick off at 10 a.m. at the Parkway Family Aquatic Center, 385 Park Way. The Pool Safely campaign is an effort to reduce child drowning and non-fatal submersions and entrapments in public swimming pools and spas.
Inez Tenenbaum, Chair of the CPSC, and Janet Evans, Olympic gold medalist, will speak about the campaign, which emphasizes the message that simple steps save lives. One of these steps is learning how to swim. During the launch on May 26, more than one hundred fourth graders from Otay Elementary will be taking swim lesson. These lessons are part of a $200,000 grant that the Kaiser Foundation has provided over four years so that more than 5,000 children from low-income areas in western Chula Vista have an opportunity to learn how to swim.
The fourth grade swim program is part of an effort to increase water safety among minority groups. The USA Swimming Foundation reports that six out of 10 African American and Hispanics do not know how to swim. The children that participate in the fourth grade swim program are predominantly Hispanic, and only 43% of the more than 5,000 participants have had swim lessons prior to participating in the two-week program. This is particularly problematic since 99% of these kids report spending time at a beach, lake or swimming pool.
"We are proud of the strides we are making in providing under privileged youth with opportunities to learn to swim and lead more active lifestyles," said Buck Martin, Director of Recreation. "We have created a model relationship between public and private entities that ultimately benefits our children."
Between 2007-2010, 22 children under the age of 14 drowned in San Diego County, and almost 400 additional children were admitted to Rady Children's Hospital for non-fatal drowning incident. Drowning continues to be the second leading cause of accidental death among children.
In an effort to identify more regional and national solutions to effectively provide drowning prevention information to the African American and Hispanic communities, the CPSC has organized a multicultural roundtable discussion on May 25. Community leaders, corporate partners and aquatic experts from the region have been invited to attend a discussion on how to communicate the pool safely message to help save lives.
For more information about the Pool Safely Campaign, please visit www.poolsafely.gov or follow the campaign on Twitter @poolsafely. Members of the public who would like to attend the Pool Safely Launch on May 26 or the Diversity Roundtable on May 25 must RSVP to Elizabeth.firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about the swim lesson program offered at the City of Chula Vista swimming pools, please visit www.chulavistaca.gov/goto/swim, or contact Manuel Gonzalez at (619) 691-5099.