Safe Kids Safe Swimming Awareness PSA Nationally Recognized

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Almost two years after her son Kai nearly drowned, Liz Lewis continues to help educate parents about swimming safety and how to protect their children.

Last summer, the Lewis family was featured in a public service announcement about pool safety and protecting children from the risks associated with recreational waters.

"The PSA, which was produced by the state Department of Health and Environmental Control in partnership with the Safe Kids Sumter County Board, has received national attention," said Missy Reese, DHEC public information coordinator and Safe Kids Sumter County advisory board member.

Reese said the PSA was featured throughout South Carolina and was submitted to the national Safe Kids Board in Washington, D.C. As a result, the Lewises were chosen as the National Water Safety spokesfamily for SafeKids Worldwide and Johnson & Johnson. The Lewis family was featured at a Capital Hill news conference for the unveiling of the Summer Safety Report.

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"Along with summer comes swimming season," said Betsy Conner, coordinator for Safe Kids Sumter County. "Parents need to know that drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death among children between the ages of 1 to 14, especially because pool and spa ownership is becoming more popular, with 50 percent of homes having a pool or spa."

Research shows that only one-third of parents with children under the age of 15 recognize that drowning is one of the top two causes of accidental death among children, and that two-thirds of parents are not aware of the threat of pool and spa drain entrapment and entanglement.

"Entrapment is an especially horrible way for children to drown," Reese said. "Entrapment can occur when a child's hair or body part gets pulled into an underwater drain in a pool or spa and suction makes it impossible to swim away."

"Through public awareness activities, the Safe Kids coalition seeks to educate parents and caregivers about their roles in preventing injuries as well as about potential risks to children's life and safety," said Conner. "Parents and caregivers can learn how to install layers of protection and also learn how to teach children about drain safety."

Source: South Carolina Department Of Health

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