background shadows
June 30, 2010

CONTACT: 609-633-8507
Lauren Kidd
Mary Helen Cervantes

Following Recent Water Tragedies, DCF Commissioner Blake Advises Parents to Safeguard Children Around Water

After five children reportedly drowned in backyard swimming pools and retention ponds in New Jersey in June, Department of Children and Families (DCF) Commissioner Allison Blake is reminding parents and caregivers to vigilantly watch children around water.

“These tragedies are a sad reminder that we should never, ever, leave a child unattended near water, and always ensure backyard swimming pools are child-proof” said Commissioner Blake. “Drowning is a leading cause of preventable child death every year, and with the summer season just getting underway, parents need to know water accidents can occur in a matter of minutes, and children can drown in just a few inches of water, often without any splashing or screaming.”

According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, drowning is the second leading cause of death for children under 14. Among children ages 1 to 4, most drownings occur in residential swimming pools and in most cases those children had been in the care of their parents and out of sight for less than five minutes.

This summer, DCF is running its third annual “Not Even for a Second” summer safety campaign to educate parents and caregivers about water safety, and to remind them never to leave children unattended around water, not even for a second.

Commissioner Blake stressed the following “Not Even for a Second” water safety tips for parents:
  • Always have an ADULT supervising young swimmers. Never leave a child alone around water. Children are drawn to it, and very young children can drown in just one inch of water. 
  • Flotation devices or inflatable toys are not substitutes for supervision. Teach children to swim at an early age. 
  • Obey all posted or verbal rules, warning signs and other safety signs. Don’t mix alcohol and supervision of children. 
  • Always drain and store plastic or blow-up wading pools in an upright position. Enclose pools completely with a self-locking, self-closing fence, and do not leave furniture around that children can use to climb over the fence. You can contact the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs for more information regarding pool construction and residential codes:
  • Be sure to remove pool covers completely to reduce the risk of children getting caught underneath.

Commissioner Blake also reminded parents about the dangers of leaving children unattended in or near cars. Several children in New Jersey have been killed or injured in the past years after being left or trapped inside a vehicle. 

“Even on a moderate day, the inside of a car can heat up to dangerous levels in a short time,” said Commissioner Blake. “A child left alone in a vehicle, even for a short time, is in danger of abduction, injury, dehydration and even death”

For the more information on summer safety tips, and copies of the DCF summer safety brochure, visit the Web at: