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Thursday, June 26, 2008
13 Summer Safety Tips

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By Grace Chen

During the summer, swimming pools present a serious hazard to young children. Approximately 260 children under the age of five will drown each year, while another 3,000 in the same age group will visit the emergency room for pool-related accidents. In order to keep your child safe, here are some tips regarding pool safety.

  1. Children should always be supervised. Any child under the age of 12 should have adult supervision while in the pool. Older children who cannot swim or swim poorly should also have adult supervision. Children under the age of 5 should be within an arm’s reach of an adult at all times. Make sure that children understand that they are not to be within the pool area ever without an adult. Never leave children unattended, even for a few minutes.

  2. Teach everyone to swim. If you own a pool or live by a lake, everyone in the family - adults and children alike - should learn to swim. Swimming lessons can be taken from infants on up.

  3. Make the water inaccessible when not swimming. Fence off the pool with self closing/latching gates and child-proof locks. The fence should be at least 5 foot high to deter climbing. A pool alarm is also recommended if you have young children. Make sure that there is nothing near the fence that would allow the child to climb up and over it to access the pool.

  4. Safety devices and lessons are not a substitute for supervision. Work to safeguard your pool in layers, including covers, fences, and alarms. Keep flotation devices handy. Teach children to swim. But do not think that these items alone will keep your child safe – about a quarter of all drownings occur by children who had swimming lessons.

  5. Learn CPR. Emergency first aid could mean the difference between life and death in a drowning situation. Also make sure that local emergency numbers and CPR instructions are posted in plain site. Install a telephone by the pool so that emergency services can be called.

  6. Keep lifesaving devices mounted near the pool. Poles, ropes, and flotation devices should be kept within reach. Keep in mind that floating toys do not work as life saving devices.

  7. Do not allow children to swim if they have recently eaten or are tired. Do not allow adults who have been drinking to use the pool.

  8. Do not allow children to run around or near the pool area.

  9. Make sure that the pool is clearly marked to differentiate the shallow from the deep end.

  10. Make sure that your child knows to stay away from filters and diving areas.

  11. Stay out of the pool when there is thunder or lighting and during rainstorms.

  12. If a child goes missing, always check the pool area first. This includes the pool itself, as well as the surrounding area.

  13. When not swimming, remove toys from the pool area so that children are not tempted to go back in.
With a few safety precautions, you can make sure that your pool area is fun, yet still safe to enjoy.

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