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Schumer ‘Blowing a Lifeguard Whistle’ on Increased Kids’ Drowning Rates

Democratic senator says rate of drownings for youngest children is increasing

Sen. Charles E. Schumer wants the CDC to investigate drowning risks to young children. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)
Sen. Charles E. Schumer wants the CDC to investigate drowning risks to young children. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer wants answers about an uptick in drowning rates for children under the age of 5.

“When it comes to the dangers of drowning, who is playing the lifeguard? Not the federal government,” Schumer said Sunday. “I’m blowing a lifeguard whistle on the dangerous trend.”

The Democrat from New York brought his Sunday news conference to the edge of the John Jay  Pool on the Upper East Side of Manahattan, the New York Post reported.

In a letter obtained by Roll Call, Schumer is asking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to look into the rates of drowning, including why young boys seem nearly twice as likely to drown as their female counterparts, according to CDC data on fatalities.

“The latest CDC data finds that children ages 0 to 4 have the highest drowning rates of any age group, and that rate is growing,” Schumer says in his letter.

“I request that the CDC investigate the main causes of drowning in this young population, as well study why boys are so much more susceptible to drowning than girls. Based on these findings, I urge the CDC to collaborate with state and local health departments to develop a community-based outreach, education and prevention campaign,” Schumer wrote. “These are tragic and often preventable deaths, but parents need to be educated as to how to prevent them.”

The letter is addressed to CDC Director Robert Redfield.

“This is particularly critical for the parents of boy toddlers, who may be unaware that their son is at greater risk of drowning. I am confident that with a concerted effort we can reverse this trend and better equip parents and communities with the knowledge they need to prevent young children from drowning,” Schumer wrote. 

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