December 13, 2018

5 Questions with CPSC Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle

two women standing together, one of those women at a podium, and that same women with a man holding a picture frame in front of them.

  1. Why is water safety important, even in winter months? 
    • Water safety is important to practice 365 days a year, because there is no off-season for drowning. Some states, like Florida and Arizona, experience outdoor swimming weather year-round. Additionally, many families across the country visit indoor pools during cooler winter months or travel to warm weather states for the holidays, so it is important to remain vigilant year-round.
  2. What are some common misconceptions about water safety that people should know? 
    • Drowning is not like in the movies, where children are portrayed as splashing and yelling for help. In reality, drowning happens quickly, and it is often silent. Even if children know how to swim, there is no such thing as a water-safe child, so it is important to designate an adult Water Watcher every single time children are in or near water. Finally, when it comes to drowning prevention, there is no one quick fix. Installing more and even stronger layers of protection is key to helping your family and community to stay safer around the water.
  3. What tip(s) do you have for parents and caregivers to ensure their families #PoolSafely365? 
    • Pool owners closing their pool for the season should properly winterize it, and double check that they have the latest fencing, covers and drains before opening it again. Winter is also a great time to enroll children in indoor swimming lessons to help them stay active and continue to build upon swimming lessons that they may have taken over the summer. Finally, all families traveling this holiday season should review water safety tips ahead of time to ensure a vacation that is safer and more fun. Learn more tips about #PoolSafely365 in the campaign’s recent blog post.
  4. How does signing the Pool Safely Pledge help keep families safer? 
    • The Pool Safely Pledge is a call to action for all adults and children to commit to following important pool and spa safety steps. The Pledge serves as an annual reminder of the simple steps that you should take to keep yourself and your family safer around the water, and we encourage you to renew your Pledge every year. I urge you to join me – along with Olympians, water safety advocates, and thousands of individuals across the country – in Pledging to practice water safety heading into 2019 and beyond. You can take and share the Pool Safely Pledge here.
  5. What do you ultimately hope to achieve through the Pool Safely campaign? 
    • While the number of drowning deaths remained consistent according to CPSC’s latest data, every single child drowning is one too many. Drowning is still the number one cause of death for children ages 1-4 and it impacts minority populations at a disproportionately high rate. We hope to end these disparities and work together with Pool Safely partners and water safety advocates around the world toward the goal of not one more child drowning. As I said at the recent Honoring a Decade of Water Safety event with the Michael Phelps Foundation, as the head of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission – and as a mother, grandmother, nurse and drowning prevention advocate, I stand ready to serve and support efforts to continue the fight to reduce child drowning deaths via even stronger education efforts.

Ann Marie Buerkle is the Acting Chairman at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), where she has also served as a Commissioner since 2013. Prior to joining CPSC, Ms. Buerkle served the people of Upstate New York’s 25th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. In addition to her professional accomplishments, Ms. Buerkle has six grown children and seventeen grandchildren.

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