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Mayor's Office

2006 Media Releases

May 4, 2006
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Brian Baker, Injury Prevention Program, 441-8046
Renae Rief, Environmental Health Educator, 441-4602

Local coalition focusing on pool safety as part of National Safe Kids Week

With the summer swimming season approaching, Mayor Seng and the Safe Kids Lincoln-Lancaster County organization are promoting pool safety. Preventing water-related injuries and drownings will be the focus of the Ultimate SAFE KIDS Day from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, May 12, at SouthPointe Pavilions. Mayor Seng issued a proclamation declaring May 6 through 13 as “Safe Kids Week” in Lincoln with the theme of “Safe Pools for Safe Kids.”

“Each year nationally, an average of 300 toddlers accidentally drown in residential swimming pools. One of those tragic deaths occurred here in Lincoln last summer,” said Mayor Seng. “I strongly urge those with private swimming pools to make sure they have the required fencing and safety features. This is one of the best ways to prevent drownings and keep children safe.”

The City requires that pools deeper than18 inches be completely surrounded by a fence at least four feet high. Doors and gates must be self-closing and self-latching. Local swimming pool retailers are being asked to display placards and brochures outlining swimming pool safety guidelines and information on Lincoln’s ordinance.

Safe Kids Lincoln-Lancaster County and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) are sponsoring the Ultimate SAFE KIDS Day in conjunction with National Safe Kids Day being observed in more than 350 U.S. communities. The event will feature demonstrations on proper fencing, pool and door alarms and safe pool drainage and drain cover systems.

From 2000 through 2002, 14 children were treated in local emergency rooms for pool-related near-drowning injuries. Every year in the U.S., about 2,400 children ages 14 and under are treated in emergency rooms for pool-related near-drownings. Safe Kids WorldWide reports that the average medical cost for a near-drowning injury is $75,000, and that as many as 20 percent of near-drowning survivors suffer severe, permanent neurological disabilities.

“The rising popularity of deeper, family pools greatly increases the potential for young children to suffer drowning-related injuries,” said Leon Marquart, Environmental Health Specialist at the LLCHD. “The community must be proactive in its effort to prevent these tragedies. The life of a child is a tragic price to pay for neglecting to take reasonable prevention measures.”

More information on the City ordinance and proper fencing is available on the City Web site, (keyword: safekids), or by calling the LLCHD at 441-8022.

The Ultimate SAFE KIDS Day also will include activities and information on pedestrian and passenger safety, home safety, fire and burn prevention and bicycle and sports safety. For more information on the event, see the City Web site, (keyword: safekids), or contact Brian Baker at the LLCHD at 441-8046.

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