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BLOG POST / June 6, 2023

First of it’s Kind Drowning Prevention Legislation Passes in New York

The US Swim School Association (USSSA) and New York Water Safety Coalition (NYWSC) are proud to announce the unanimous passage of a landmark piece of legislation, Senate Bill S.3608-A (Webb)/Assembly Bill A.4987-A (Pheffer Amato), that will make New York State a national leader in drowning prevention. Once signed into law by the Governor of New York, this bill will require hospitals to offer an informational video to new parents on the dangers of drowning for infants and young children.

While most New Yorkers have been touched by drowning, either through a personal experience or through that of an acquaintance, it has taken far too long for public policy to catch up to this crisis. This bill is a response to the alarming reality that, according to the CDC, drowning is the leading cause of death for children under five years of age. It represents a monumental leap forward in our mission to fight drowning and empower individuals and families to keep themselves and their children safer in and around the water.

The legislation, sponsored by Senator Lea Webb and Assembly Member Stacey Pheffer Amato, requires hospitals to offer to show new parents a brief, state-approved video during the mother’s maternity stay. This bill is modeled after the existing state law that pertains to Shaken Baby Syndrome. The video will be required to highlight the dangers of drowning for infants and young children, alongside evidence-based prevention measures. A sample video prepared by the NYWSC and USSSA can be viewed here.

This bill, the first of its kind in the nation, is a testament to the NYWSC’s unwavering commitment to using education as a primary tool in the fight against drowning. The Coalition is confident this initiative will significantly raise public awareness about the risks of drowning and the importance of prevention, ushering in a safer future for all New Yorkers. Likewise, we look forward to advocating to the Governor the importance of signing this bill into law.

“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Senator Webb and Assemblymember Pheffer Amato, and the many co-sponsors who also supported this bill. Their dedication and commitment have brought us one step closer to our vision of a New York in which drowning is no longer a leading cause of death among children.” said NYWSC founder Brendan O’Melveny.

In addition to this, NYWSC is actively working towards the passage of Senate Bill S.5815 (Mannion)/Assembly Bill A.6205 (Reyes), which would create a statewide drowning prevention public awareness campaign. It has already passed through the Senate with unanimous support and is awaiting for a full vote on the Assembly Floor.

You can learn more about NYWSC here.

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