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U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer Visits Graydon Pool to Promote New “Safe Swimming Strategy”

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photos courtesy of of U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ,  June 20, 2023, at Graydon Pool, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) announced his new Safe Swimming Strategy to help prevent drownings and protect our children and families in pools, especially during the summer months.

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In 2022, at least 50 people died in New Jersey after drowning in swimming pools or natural water. Last June a 55-year-old River Vale man drowned in his backyard pool, a 7-year-old girl drowned in a backyard Teaneck pool, a 1-year-old boy drowned in a backyard pool in Paramus, and two teenage brothers drowned in a Bayonne school pool.

National Drowning Statistics:

  • According to the CDC, drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1-4 and the second leading cause of death for children ages 5-14.
  • Recent reporting found that an average of 371 children drown in pools and spas every year and there are an average of 6,300 non-fatal drowning injuries that need emergency department treatment.
  • Every year in the U.S., there are an estimated 4,000 fatal unintentional drownings — that is an average of 11 drowning deaths per day.

Gottheimer’s Safe Swimming Strategy Includes:

  • First, passing the bipartisan Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety (VGB) Reauthorization Act.
    • Gottheimer and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (FL-25) are introducing the bipartisan VGB Reauthorization Act to bolster safety standards for public swimming pools and spas, and promote awareness to prevent pool-related injuries and deaths.
  • Second, promoting strong swimming skills.
    • Gottheimer encouraged parents to enroll their children in free or reduced cost swimming lessons at a local YMCA, USA Swimming Chapter, or Parks and Recreation department.
    • Research shows that 64 percent of Black American children and 45 percent of Hispanic children have low-to-no swimming ability.
    • The VGB Reauthorization Act will provide federal investments for swim lessons nationwide.
  • Third, ensuring pools are up to code and following necessary safety standards.
    • The VGB Reauthorization Act includes a grant program that incentivizes states and municipalities to have pool and spa safety laws and requirements on the books. It will also ensure that all public and hotel pools have proper safety drain covers and shut-off valves designed to prevent children from being trapped underwater by the powerful suction of pool filter systems.
    • The VGB Reauthorization Act will expand eligibility for federal pool safety grants and create additional oversight and reporting requirements.
  • Finally, spreading awareness to promote safe swimming and drowning prevention.
    • The VGB Reauthorization Act will create a new grant awareness campaign for the Consumer Product Safety Commission to conduct outreach.
    • Gottheimer highlighted the importance of preventing young children from being able to get near water if an adult isn’t nearby and installing more and stronger layers of protection like a 4-sided fencing with a self-closing, self-latching gate around all pools.
    • Gottheimer encouraged parents to learn CPR and residents to consider working as lifeguards to combat the national shortage.

“With summer starting, we need to make sure we’re taking the necessary precautions and measures to keep our children and families safe when swimming. While swimming in a pool can be plenty of fun, it also comes with plenty of danger. Just like across the country, our communities here in Jersey have witnessed a terrible spike in drownings recently. Drownings right here in Bergen County and across North Jersey,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “This summer, we need to do everything we can to make sure not one more child or adult dies from drowning. It’s preventable, and there are clear and easy steps we can take to make our pools, lakes, and communities safer for families. And there’s nothing partisan about saving a child from drowning.”

“I’m so proud and happy to be here with my very good friend Congressman Josh Gottheimer who is spearheading legislation to provide funding for water safety programs. And in this era of a national lifeguard shortage, this is critical to water safety,” said Ridgewood Mayor Paul Vagianos.

This legislation is so important because water safety is so incredibly important. We have to remember that drowning happens quickly and quietly. One of the biggest ways that we can prevent drowning is by making sure that everyone has access to swim lessons,” said Director of Competitive Swimming at the Ridgewood YMCA Meaghan Donnelly.

Gottheimer was joined at Ridgewood’s Graydon Pool by Ridgewood Mayor Paul Vagianos, Director of Competitive Swimming at the Ridgewood YMCA Meaghan Donnelly, lifeguards, and local first responders.

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27 thoughts on “U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer Visits Graydon Pool to Promote New “Safe Swimming Strategy”

  1. Mr. Mayor: That shirt looks hideous.

    1. And the lady standing next to Pee Wee needs carry a comb or hair brush with her on safari. Hideous dress on her too.

  2. Look at Pee Wee!

    Untucked !

  3. Does he know how to swim himself? and isn’t mayor supposed to dress better when hosting a US congressman? Where is the usual makeup?

    1. Dress better?
      For that asshole?

  4. Little Josh’s school seat belt legislation has gone nowhere. Why didn’t he call for the regulation of school bus drivers? Remember the school bus driver that drove into Graydon?

  5. There are bigger issues plaguing Ridgewood that Josh Gottheimer might want to know about.

    1. Yeah like the pompous A$$ he’s in the picture with

    2. Yes there are!!!

  6. He has never passed the deep water test…

    1. the local L.G.B.A will not allow him to the 11ft

  7. Kinda reminds me of John Fetterman
    Surprised he isn’t in his normal track suit !

  8. Josh G is a joke
    All talk no action

    Promised to fix the SALT deduction..failed.

    1. Did you really fall for it?

    2. Pissed at the guy for not fixing the Salt deduction.

      Love the guy who messed it up in the first place.

      No one ever accuses you of an abundance of logic.

      1. I can’t understand why people object to the SALT limitation of $10,000. Isn’t the same crowd that complains about this in favor of higher taxes?

        1. Dems think higher taxes will only apply to people richer than them

      2. triggered liberal

    3. So is our Mayor

  9. Who cares.

  10. every high school graduate should be required to pass a basic swim and water safety test

    this would be very helpful for their future

    1. That’s racist!

  11. Did they ever install cameras around the whole pool from the last person that drowned supposedly they were settled for 13 million.

  12. Who got stuck carrying that podium on to the beach.

  13. Mr Mayor what are your hands covering up???

    1. Oh where can we start ????

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