Update: New York Bill was signed by Governor about water safety

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Bill #7129, December 2021 update

On December 22, 2021, the bill was signed by the NY Governor Kathy Hochul. The temporary commission to prevent childhood drowning is going to form. 

Cheers and action for the support efforts of the of a NY bill 7129.

This is not the "Know Before You Go" legislation from the Swim Strong Foundation!

The Bill on Gov’s desk relates to forming a state wide committee to ”study” the problem or a year and make recommendations.

The Swim Strong Bill implies that we have studied enough and drowning rates are not changing. Rather, is time to take action! That other bill mandates the education of water safety in NY State Schools.

A water safety bill has moved out of the house chambers and headed to the desk of the New York Governor for signature, veto or in-action. A ten day timer is now started.

The bill includes this provision:

A temporary commission to be known as the "commission to prevent childhood drowning", hereafter referred to as the "commission", is hereby created to evaluate and develop programs to properly educate and instruct children on water safety and how to swim.

Your call to action, should you choose to accept, either from NY residents or beyond, is to encourage the Governor to sign the bill!

You can reach out to Governor Kathy Hochul's office at the following link:

Additionally, all members of the Senate welcome legislative feedback from constituents at nysenate.gov.

When NY citizens use the New York State Senate website to officially support or oppose this bill, feedback is shared directly with your senator.

Justification

According to the United States Center of Disease Control From 2005-2014, there were an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) annually in the United States - about ten deaths per day. An additional 332 people died each year from drowning in boating-related incidents.

About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger. For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries. More than 50% of drowning victims treated in emergency departments (EDs) require hospitalization or transfer for further care (compared with a hospitalization rate of about 6% for all unintentional injuries). These nonfatal drowning injuries can cause severe brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities such as memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning (e.g., permanent vegetative state).

Research has also found that early swimming skills help. Taking part in formal swimming lessons reduces the risk of drowning among children, however, many people don't have basic swimming skills.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends swim lessons for many children starting at age 1. The decision to start water-survival skills training or swim lessons at an early age must be individualized on the basis of the child's frequency of exposure to water, emotional maturity, physical and cognitive limitations and health concerns related to swimming pools. A study in the journal JAMA Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine found formal swimming lessons reduced the likelihood of childhood drowning by 88%.

This legislation would increase access to swim training programs and hopefully prevent countless unnecessary tragedy.

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