State Officials Talk Summer Safety With Fourth Grade Students at Raritan Bay Area YMCA

PERTH AMBOY — With the official start of summer just over one week away, Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd of the Department of Health and Senior Services and Commissioner Allison Blake of the Department of Children and Families (DCF) spoke to more than 100 fourth grade students at the Raritan Valley YMCA to stress the importance of staying safe while having fun this summer.

“We want every child in New Jersey to enjoy their summer whether they are in a pool, at the beach, riding their bike or just playing on the playground,” said O’Dowd. “By reminding children and their parents to follow basic safety steps we can help ensure that summer fun does not turn into a trip to the emergency room or doctor’s office.”

O’Dowd and Blake toured the Raritan Bay Area YMCA that was demonstrating pool, bike, fire and playground safety to the children. The children also saw a demonstration on how to prepare healthy summer snacks.

“Drowning is the second leading cause of death for children under 14 among children ages 1 to 4,” said Blake. “Drowning is preventable and direct actions by parents, family members, friends and neighbors can ensure that we eliminate the risk of a child drowning.”

The DCF “Not Even for a Second” campaign stresses water safety tips for parents. Including: Never leave a child alone around water. Always have an adult supervise young swimmers and flotation devices are not substitutes for supervision.

Nationally, in 2009, 983 children died due to drowning according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC also reports that more than 9,000 children died from injuries in the United States in 2009, car crashes, suffocation, drowning, poison, fires and falls accounted for some of the most common ways children were hurt or killed. The number of children dying from injury dropped nearly 30 percent over the last decade however injury is still the number 1 cause of death among children.

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