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Laurie Ender: Caution prevents pool accidents

Live from City Hall

Posted: July 2, 2009 6:46 p.m.
Updated: July 3, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
Summer is here, and if there's one thing you can count on in Santa Clarita it's that it's going to be hot.

As always, many of our residents will make a splash while trying to beat the heat this holiday weekend and throughout the summer.
Swimming is one of the most popular water sports in the United States, but is also associated with some serious risks.

Drowning is the third leading cause of accidental death in the United States and the second leading cause of death for individuals 5 to 44 years of age.

With one local drowning already this summer, your city strongly encourages everyone to brush up on summer safety tips and facts to keep everyone safe both in and out of the pool.

The city of Santa Clarita offers great community pools for residents to enjoy. There are a number of safety regulations in place at city pools to keep residents out of harm's way, but it is important for community members to be responsible and vigilant as well while at public and private pools this summer.

Residents should be aware of their swimming abilities, always swim sober, keep glass out of the pool area and refrain from diving headfirst into shallow or unknown water or running along the pool deck.

Pregnant women, elderly individuals and infants should not use a hot tub or spa without first consulting a physician.

No one should ever swim alone, and children under the age of 14 should never swim without adult supervision.

Learning how to swim is the best defense against drowning and the city offers a number of summer swim classes for residents of all ages and experience levels. You're never to young - or too old - to learn to be water-safe!

In addition to city pools, many residents enjoy access to private pools at home and in neighborhoods.

Given that drowning in a home swimming pool is the No. 1 cause of death for children under 5 years of age, private pools should be surrounded by a 5-foot fence with a self-latching and locking device to keep kids out of the pool area without supervision.

Emergency numbers and CPR instructions should be posted by the pool with a phone nearby in case of a crisis.

When hosting a party at private residence, consideration should be given to hiring a lifeguard, so supervision is not assumed, but guaranteed.

Dirty and murky pools can serve as a breeding ground for bacteria and diseases, such as typhoid, hepatitis, dysentery and cholera.

These are passed on to anyone who comes into contact with the contaminated water, but don't overdo it on the chlorine.

Water not kept in proper chemical balance can cause eye and skin irritation to swimmers, as well as costly damages to pool equipment.

Private pools should be kept clean with the appropriate chemical levels and kept covered when not in use to help curb bacteria and prevent children from falling in.

By putting to practice the proper safety precautions, community members can help to lessen the risks associated with swimming and water play.

The city offers a number of swim classes for community members from beginner to advanced experience levels and the city's Aquatic Center has detailed information available on safety tips and guidelines to help prevent accidents (check it out at www.santa-clarita.com).

By working together to learn and promote swim safety, we can help make public and private pools safer places to play for summer seasons to come. And one last thing - don't forget the sunscreen.

Laurie Ender is a Santa Clarita City Councilwoman. Her column reflects her own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. "Live from City Hall" runs Fridays in The Signal and is provided by the city of Santa Clarita.

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