Swimming is fun, but it can also be dangerous. Here are ways to keep your kids safe this summer.


By SARA VANDEN BERGE

Swimming in a cool body of water is the only way to get through a Texas summer; they’re scorchers.

And while splashing around in a swimming pool is loads of fun, it can also be dangerous.

According to the Centers for Disease Control drowning is the No. 1 cause of unintentional death for children between the ages of one and four, and 74 percent of fatal pool accidents occur at residential locations.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that swimming pool owners install a fence (at least four-feet high) or other barrier, such as a wall completely around the pool.

If the house is part of the barrier, the doors leading from the house to the pool should be protected with an alarm or the pool should have a power safety cover.

The CPSC also provides these guidelines for keeping children safe.

  • Instruct babysitters about potential pool hazards and stress the importance of protective devices, such as door alarms and latches. Emphasize the need for constant supervision.

  • Never leave a child unsupervised near a pool and appoint a "designated watcher" during parties and gatherings.

  • If a child is missing, check the pool first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.

  • Do not consider young children to be drownproof because they have had swimming lessons. Children must be watched closely at all times.

  • Do not use flotation devices as a substitute for supervision.

  • Learn CPR. Babysitters and other caretakers, such as grandparents and older siblings, should also know CPR.

  • Keep rescue equipment by the pool. Be sure a telephone is poolside with emergency numbers posted nearby.

  • Remove toys from in and around the pool when it is not in use. Toys can attract young children to the pool.

  • Never prop open the gate to a pool barrier.

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Beneath the Surface News. sara@beneaththesurfacenews.com