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Pool fencing information: Drowning prevention 

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According to a study by the National Center for Health Statistics, in 1998, 4,406 people drowned in the U.S., including 1,003 children 15 and under. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) stated in an article posted on their website: www.cdc.gov/ncipc/factsheets/drown.htm, that in 2003, more than 40% of the children who suffered non-fatal submersion required hospitalization. Non-fatal submersion can cause several degrees of brain damage,
from slight memory lose to a permanent vegetative state.

Drowning is the second leading injury-related cause of death for children 1 to 14 years of age, with most drowning in swimming pools. This tragedy can be prevented.

How can you help prevent pool drowning?

Here are some safety tips:

* Make sure an adult or designated "Water Watcher" is supervising whenever children are swimming, playing, or bathing in water. The adult must remember not
to engage in any distracting activities such as reading, talking on the telephone, or using the bathroom while attending to the children. If an adult must leave,
they should not do so until they have someone else to watch the water in their place. Unfortunately, 1 out of 10 children have drowned while under adult supervision.

* Never swim alone or in unsupervised places. Teach children to always swim with a buddy.

* Keep small children away from buckets containing liquid. Five-gallon buckets are particularly dangerous to toddlers, who have been known to fall face-down into
them and drown. Be sure to empty buckets and turn buckets upside down when finished with household chores.

* Never drink alcohol before or during swimming, boating, or water skiing. Never drink alcohol while supervising children. Teach children and teen-agers about the danger of drinking alcohol while engaging in these kinds of activities.

* To prevent choking, never chew gum or eat while swimming, diving, or playing in water.

* Learn to swim. Enroll yourself and/or your children aged 4 and older in swimming classes. Swimming classes are not recommended for children under age 4.

* Learn CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation). This is particularly important for pool owners and individuals who regularly participate in water recreation.

* Do not use air-filled swimming aids (such as "water wings") in place of life jackets or life preservers with children. These can give parents and children a false sense of security and increase the risk of drowning. There should be a flotation device per person on all boats.

* Check the water depth before entering. The American Red Cross recommends 9 feet as a minimum depth for diving or jumping. Always jump feet first into unfamiliar
water to prevent head injury.

If you have a swimming pool at your home:

Install a four-sided, isolation pool-fence with self-closing and self-latching gates around the pool. The fence should be at least 4 -5 feet tall and completely separate
the pool, house, and play area of the yard. Check with your local laws and codes.

* Prevent children from having direct access to a swimming pool. Install a telephone near the pool. Know how to contact local emergency medical services.

* Post the emergency number, 911, in an easy-to-see place. Learn CPR.


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