STAMFORD, Conn. -- Stamford and Bridgeport have been awarded a first-of-their-kind grants, aimed at enforcing swimming pool safety and preventing drownings. Five governments received over $780,000 from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Stamford received $131,000 and Bridgeport was awarded $75,000.
"Thank you to CPSC, the Stamford YMCA and our Health Department for recognizing this important opportunity to educate our kids in water safety," said Stamford Mayor David Martin. "Safety, especially children's safety, is a top priority. Especially as we get into the warmer months, it is important for all of us to relearn safety around water, and this funding will help."
"Every year, too many children across America drown. Drowning is the number-one cause of unintentional children death to children ages 1-4," said U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Elliot Kay. "We need to do far more to stop these preventable deaths."
Stamford will offer free swimming classes to 64 children. Department of Health and Recreation Services staff will be trained in water safety -- and they'll educate the public. The Health Department will also inspect public pools and have educational literature for residential pool owners.
Stamford will also partner with the Stamford Family YMCA, supplementing its learn-to-swim curriculum with the Safety Around Water program, bring water safety education to more youth, and expand training opportunities for staff and certified pool operators.
"Water safety and swimming are important life skills,” said Stamford YMCA CEO Ernest Lamour. “All children deserve access to water safety resources that not only could save their lives, but enrich them with an outlet for fun, healthy activity.”
Starting in May -- National Water Safety Month -- the Stamford YMCA will offer an eight-day Safety Around Water program to kids ages 3-17 at no cost. Classes begin April 29; parents can learn more and register on the YMCA website. For more information, contact Natalia Aponte at 203-357-7000, ext. 120.
To learn more about the Pool Safely Grant Program and the VGB Act, visit PoolSafely.gov. The site has free, downloadable information for the public, state and local officials, the swimming pool and spa community, and the media.