Contact: Sen. David Gottesman

P: 603 271-2735


Thursday, April 20, 2006

CONCORD , NH– Today, the New Hampshirestate Senate effectively killed HB 1506 by tabling the legislation, which would have required children twelve years and under to wear personal flotation devices while on a boat.

Current New Hampshirelaw requires children five and under to wear personal flotation devices onboats. This legislation was consistent with the recommendation of the National Transportation Safety Board that children under age 13 wear a personal floatation device on a boat.

When a child falls into the water, it does not take long for them to drown. There is often no opportunity for rescue and little chance of effective treatment. Having an adult on a boat will not necessarily prevent a child from drowning.

“Parents and adults have a responsibility to protect children,” commented Sen. Joe Foster, D-District 13. “This legislation was a way to prevent deaths and life long disabilities in children.For every child who drowns, three more receive emergency care for submersion injuries, and 40% of these children require hospitalization. We applaud Rep.Campbell for bringing this important legislation forward, but are saddened that our colleagues in the Senate did not realize its value.”

Scientific evidence has shown that as a general rule, children age 13 and older are more likely to be able to handle themselves in a time of crisis than a child under 12 can. According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 838 children ages 0 to fourteen died from drowning in 2002. Drowning is the second-leading cause of injury related deaths for children under the age of fifteen.

Sen. Gottesman, D-District 12 noted, “This bill would have protected our children, and should have passed. The safety of our children is essential, and they count on us to do the right thing. It is unfortunate that we did not manage to do that today.”