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Play it safe to prevent drownings

Water safety tips

Posted: May 24, 2008 2:50 p.m.
Updated: July 25, 2008 5:04 a.m.
 
To promote water safety for children and reduce tragedies, here are useful tips, many garnered from "first responder" sources.

Children can drown quickly and quietly, with little if any splashing.

Therefore, constant supervision and observation are the keys to prevention. Keep all small children within arm's reach whenever standing water is near. (This includes pools, spas, lakes, streams, rivers, buckets, bathtubs and even toilets.)

Never leave children alone by the pool or in the care of another child. (Even proficient little swimmers can drown if they've sustained an incapacitating swimming injury. Further, it's not fair or sensible to expect a youngster, no matter how mature, to do an adult's job.)

Pools should be enclosed by four-sided fencing (minimum five feet
high) with self-locking and self-closing gates.

Keep gates closed and latched. Never prop gates open or disable their locks.

Keep spas and hot tubs covered and locked when not in use.

Enroll non-swimmers in swimming lessons taught by qualified instructors.

Regardless of age or skill level, no one is "drown proof." Even adults who swim can drown. Therefore, the buddy system is the best way to swim.

If you cannot swim, learn how. (If you don't learn to swim, you shouldn't have a pool or be near one with your children.)

Completely remove pool and spa covers before swimming.

When hosting pool parties where kids are present, assign adults to watch over the pool.

Make sure kids know all swim area "rules."

Learn basic lifesaving techniques, including First Aid and CPR. Anyone who cares for your children must learn that too.

Keep emergency numbers and CPR instructions near the pool. Same for rescue equipment and a cordless, water resistant telephone. Should include a sturdy, lightweight pole measuring at least 10-12 feet and a ring buoy with line. Also, do not permit children to play with these tools.

Drains, grates, filters and suction devices are not toys, therefore children must be taught to never stick their fingers or toes in them.

Do not leave furniture near the fence that would enable a child to climb over it.

Do not use flotation devices or inflatable toys as supervision tools. Such devices could suddenly shift position, lose air, or slip out from underneath, leaving the child in a dangerous situation.

If a child is missing, check the pool area first.

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