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June 4, 2012

CONTACT:   Kristine Brown
DCF Press Office:  609-633-8507

 DCF Commissioner Reminds Parents and Caregivers of Summer Safety Tips
Stresses need to be vigilant with children around water and to never leave children unattended in a vehicle

As the weather heats up, and families spend more time outdoors and near water, the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) wants to ensure that summertime is a safe time for kids.

To prevent tragedies and serious injuries from occurring, DCF suggests some simple but vital tips for parents and caregivers to follow.

“It is so important for parents to stick to a few safety rules – such as always watching kids around water and never leaving a child alone in a car,”  said DCF Commissioner Allison Blake.

DCF is reminding parents and caretakers to never leave children unattended near water and always child-proof backyard swimming pools. A child can drown in just a few inches of water and within seconds, 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.

“Far too many children die from drowning each year. These are preventable tragedies, and a sad reminder of how accidents can occur in a matter of moments,” Commissioner Blake said. “We want to stress the need to be vigilant with children around water.”

DCF’s “Not Even for a Second” campaign stresses the following 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.

DCF is also reminding parents and caregivers to never leave children unattended in a vehicle, where temperatures can quickly rise to dangerous levels, especially in warmer summer months.

“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”

DCF’s “Not Even for a Minute” campaign outlines tips for parents to help keep kids safe around cars, including:

  • Never leave a child unattended in a car. Not even for a minute.
  • Always lock your car and secure the keys so that your kids can’t get to them.
  • Warn your children about playing in and around cars.
  • Install a trunk release mechanism so that kids can’t get trapped inside the trunk.
  • Get your kids out of the car first, and then worry about unloading the groceries and items out of the car.

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