Comments Off on State rules aim to prevent drownings at municipal day camps 

State rules aim to prevent drownings at municipal day camps 

Posted by | December 20, 2016 | Drowning Prevention, Water Safety

Ever since 4-year-old Christian Frechette drowned at a municipal day camp in Sturbridge nine years ago, his grief-stricken father has worked to prevent other children from meeting the same fate.On Wednesday, Derek Frechette marked another step forward in this mission. The state Department of Public Health released proposed regulations to carry out Christian’s Law, passed in 2012 to ensure the safety of children at municipal day camps and recreation programs that take place on beaches.The law has been in effect for four years, and the state has provided interim guidance to camps. But not until this year did the public health department start developing regulations to specify exactly how camps should meet the law’s requirements.“I want kids to be safe,” Frechette said in a phone interview Wednesday. “I don’t want a burden on taxpayers or camps. I just want the kids to be safe.”Get Fast Forward in your inbox:Forget yesterday’s news. Get what you need today in this early-morning email.Sign UpTom Lyons, spokesman for the state Department of Public Health, said the camp rules were undertaken as part of a department-wide review of all regulations. The process started, he said, months before the death of 7-year-old Kyzr Willis, who drowned in the waters off Carson Beach in Boston in July. Kyzr was described as a good swimmer and apparently slipped away from a city-run recreation program at a community center near the beach.Frechette was distraught to learn of Kyzr’s drowning and blamed the state’s failure to adopt the Christian’s Law regulations. “That’s what drove me insane,” he said. The law “was put in place for four years and nobody in Boston listened to it.”Christian’s Law fills a gap in state oversight. Pools have their own safety rules. Private camps had long been licensed and regulated. But municipal recreation programs have been exempted from those camp rules for decades, Lyons said.Now, Christian’s Law addresses one aspect of those municipal programs — the marine and freshwater beaches where children play. The law requires both municipal and private camps to assess campers’ swimming ability and provide appropriate flotation devices to poor swimmers.The proposed regulations spell out the requirements, such as how swim tests should be conducted, the type of flotation devices that can be used, and record-keeping rules. The regulations were presented Wednesday to the Public Health Council, an appointed board of physicians, academics, and consumer advocates that helps the health department set policy. A public hearing will be scheduled and, after revisions, the council will vote on the regulations in a few months.Christian Frechette drowned at a day camp nine years ago.While the focus of the regulations is municipal camps, the rules also apply to privately run camps. Scott Brody, government affairs chairman of the Massachusetts Camping Association, said the law’s requirements are little different from common practices at private, accredited camps, and meeting the specifics of the proposed regulations will not be difficult. “That is a set of regulations that reflects our input and will work well within our camps,” he said. “That’s the point, to keep kids safe.”And that’s been Derek Frechette’s goal as well. He founded the CEF Foundation and in 2011 enlisted the help of Stephen Brewer , then a state representative, whose brother had drowned as a child. Brewer sponsored Christian’s Law.Today, Frechette said, he is working on a project to provide life jackets to camps. He expects to have about 500 life jackets manufactured this winter, sell them at a profit to those who can afford them, and use the profits to give away free life vests to children who can’t afford them.“I don’t want to lose any more children,” he said. “I hope everybody keeps an eye out — watch out for the children.”Felice J. Freyer can be reached at felice.freyer@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @felicejfreyer SHOW 5 COMMENTSTop 10 Trending ArticlesMost Viewed Most Commented Most SharedMark Wahlberg’s ‘Patriots Day,’ the Marathon bombing movie, is heartfelt and unnecessaryMillennials aren’t lazy, they’re workaholicsYes, there is shame in not knowingNick Cafardo: Hard to believe Buchholz trade last trick up Dombrowski’s sleeveNewsweek reporter with epilepsy suffers seizure after Twitter user sends spiteful imagePolitics fueled late-night TV’s top moments in 2016The media are misleading the public on SyriaTrump raises specter of treasonChad Finn: Clay Buchholz had so much potential, but he sure drove fans nuts5 arrested after crowd assaults police officers at Everett Chuck E. Cheese’s

Source: State rules aim to prevent drownings at municipal day camps – The Boston Globe

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