LOS ANGELES – Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved two board motions authored by Chair Solis and co-authored by Supervisor Kathryn Barger, to address regulatory gaps in children’s activities at camps and swimming pools.
“With the County re-opening and summer on the horizon, we anticipate a return to activities that were enjoyed pre-pandemic like summer camps and swimming pools, which, unfortunately also brings up prior existing issues like a lack of regulations regarding summer camps and swimming pools,” shared Chair Solis. “These motions set the groundwork so that when summer camps and swimming pools re-open to the public, children can safely return with resources that provide life-saving support to prevent tragedies like drownings.”
County Code does not require lifeguards at public pools utilized by children and non-swimmers, nor does it specify the number of lifeguards required at public pools. Additionally, there appears to be no environmental health and safety regulations of children’s camps or day camps where activities like swimming should be regulated. This motion will change that.
“The safety and well-being of the children and youth in Los Angeles County should always be our highest priority,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger. “And it is imperative that we take every opportunity to improve programs and activities that involve the care and supervision of adolescents. Furthermore, considering that drownings are the leading cause of injury or death among young children ages 1 to 14, we must enhance water safety measures and oversight of public swimming pools to eliminate any preventable deaths.”
“Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death for children 1-4 and second for those under 14,” shared President of the Meow Meow Foundation, Douglas Forbes. “California day camps are not licensed or regulated, while overnight camps receive vastly insufficient oversight. This is why Meow Meow Foundation is eager to work with Los Angeles County on substantive initiatives that finally afford critical protections to millions of vulnerable children.”
The passage of item #20, to address regulatory gaps in children’s camps directs the Office of County Counsel, in coordination with the Department of Public Health, to consult with relevant County departments and report back to the Board within 180 days with draft Ordinance language that: defines in County Code what constitutes a children’s camp in Los Angeles County; establishes feasible and enforceable regulations with minimum requirements for children’s camps, including day camps and overnight camps; amends the existing County Code to align with State requirements for Organized Camps; ensures that children’s camps are regularly inspected for the safety and wellbeing of children and staff, and that inspection results are posted online for public review to promote transparency of the regulations; and ensures the proposed ordinance takes diversity, equity and inclusion into consideration.
The passage of item #21, to prevent drownings at public and private swimming pools directs the Department of Public Health to: work with County Counsel to prepare amendments to the County Code, that include requirements on children’s safety such as requiring training in CPR and first aid and implementation of Aquatic Safety Plans and several other safety measures. The motion requires that all fatal drowning related data, (but not personally identifiable information) be made publicly available on a yearly basis. It also instructs the Department of Public Health to consult with representatives from public health, public safety, pediatrics and nonprofit drowning prevention organizations to develop public messaging, educational materials, and promote resources on drowning prevention. The motion further moves to direct the Los Angeles County Fire Department and the Emergency Medical Services Agency of the Department of Health Services to immediately notify the Department of Public Health of any fatal or non-fatal drowning incidents within its jurisdiction so that the Department of Public Health can investigate promptly.
To view the full motion on Item #20, click here.
To view the full motion on Item #21, click here.
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