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Pool Safety

According to the National Pool and Spa Institute statistics, drowning has been the leading cause of accidental death in the home of children under 5 years old. Each year, nationwide, more than 300 children under the age of 5 drown in residential swimming pools - usually a pool owned by their family. In addition, more than 2,000 children in that age group are treated in hospital emergency rooms for submersion injures. Medical costs for submersion victims, during the initial hospitalization alone, can be quite high and can range from an estimated $4,000 for a victim who recovers fully to $150,000 or more for a victim with severe brain damage. Drowning is NOT accompanied by loud noise or splashing sounds. DROWNING IS SILENT! To prevent child-drowning, there is NO substitute for parental supervision. Many communities have enacted safety regulations governing residential swimming pools --  both in-ground and above-ground. The information below can help parents and caregivers provide young children with the protection they deserve.

NSPI (National Spa & Pool Institute) Drowning Prevention Tips

1. There is NO substitute for adequate supervision. The "buddy system" of two children, is no substitute. Even people that can swim very well can drown when they bump their head, become entrapped, or have medical emergencies like seizures or black outs. DON'T LET THEM OUT OF YOUR SIGHT!

2. Pools and spas are attractive to children; what the court calls an "attractive nuisance". There must be a permanent barrier to entry. Local ordinances will specify a 3-sided or a 4-sided, non-climbable fence with self-closing, self-latching mechanisms on the gate. The gate should be locked when the pool is not in use. Do not place chairs or tables near a fence which would allow a child to climb over. Portable, above ground spas should have a hard top that locks on, preventing its use.

3. In addition to a barrier around the pool, NSPI promotes an idea called Layers of Protection, and has produced a pamphlet under the same name. This is the combination of many safety features working together to form several "layers" of safety protection around a swimming pool or spa. A simple fence just won't do to protect the pool when it is not under supervision. Door exit alarms, infrared detectors or security cameras. Pool alarms, child alarms, or pool safety covers will all help to prevent accidents.

4. Ensure that the pool is in clear view from the house, and not obstructed by plants, canopies, solid fences, or darkness. This is not so that you can watch your swimmers from the house; rather to ensure that the pool is not in use when it is not supposed to be.

5. Place a phone nearby the pool with emergency numbers (911, fire department, poison control center, etc.) listed. Signage about the pool, with "pool rules" is a good idea, but remember to always instruct new users of your pool to what is allowed and what is not. Having a pool can make you popular with neighborhood friends of your children. If rules are not followed, do not allow these children to use the pool.

6. Having rescue equipment on hand can help prevent a drowning person from drowning someone else. Ring buoys & reaching poles with life hooks should be at the ready. First aid kits should be nearby also.

7. If you use a pool or spa cover, follow all instructions for their safe installation, use and maintenance. Always remove a cover completely before using the pool, and do not let standing water remain on top; pump it off.

8. Do not allow children to play near a pool. Games and bike riding can result in someone going in, perhaps bumping their head on the way.

9. Learn CPR (Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation).

10. Have your children take swimming lessons at an early age.
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