Swimming This Summer?

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated 260 children under five years of age drown each year in residential swimming pools and spas.  The Commission estimates that another 3,000 children under age five are treated in hospital emergency rooms following submersion accidents each year.  Some of these submersion accidents result in permanent brain damage.

Nationally, drowning is the fourth leading cause of death to children under five.  In some states such as California, Florida and Arizona, drowing is the leading cause of accidental death to children under five.

A swimming pool or any body of water can be very dangerous for children.  If possible, do not put a swimming pool in your yard until your children are older than 5 years.  Help protect your children from drowning by doing the following.

1.  Never leave your children alone in or near the pool, pond, or lake, even for a moment.  An adult who knows CPR should actively supervise children at all times.

2.  Instruct babysitters about potential hazards to young children in and around swimming pools and the need for constant supervision.

3.  Practice touch supervision with children younger than 5 years.  This means that the adult remains within an arm’s length of the child at all times.

4.  You must put up a fence to separate your house from the pool.  Most young children who drown in pools wander out of the house and fall into the pool.

5.  Install a fence at least 4 feet high around all 4 sides of the pool.  This fence will completely separate the pool from the house and play area of the yard.

6.  Use gates that self-close and self-latch, with latches higher than your children’s reach.

7.  Place tables and chairs well away from the pool fence to prevent children from climbing into the pool area.

8.  Keep rescue equipment (such as a shepherd’s hook or personal floatation device) and a telephone by the pool.

9.  Do not use air-filled “swimming aids” as a substitute for approved personal floatation device.

10.  Remove all toys from the pool after use so children aren’t tempted to reach for them.

11.  After the children are done swimming, secure the pool so they can’t get back into it.

12.  A power safety cover that meets the standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) may add to the protection of your children but should not be used in place of the fence between your house and the pool.  Even fencing around your pool and using a power safety cover will not prevent all drownings.

13.  Never use a pool with it’s pool cover partially in place, since children may become entrapped under it.  Remove the cover completely.

14.  Remove steps to above ground pools when not in use.

15.  When in a lake and/or pond, require everyone to wear personal floatation devices.

16.  Never swim alone!

Remember, teaching your child how to swim DOES NOT mean your child is safe in water.

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