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Drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 5 and under in the U.S., according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. About 350 children ages five and under drown each year in
swimming pools, many of the residential pools, the Commission reports.

Another 2,600 children suffer near-drowning tragedies annually in the U.S., leaving many with permanent brain damage and requiring a lifetime of hospitalization.

The key to preventing these tragedies is education and preventive measures, of among the most important include learning CPR and placing protective barriers around your pool to prevent access. Other means of security include gate locks and door alarms that sound out whenever a pool fence gate is opened, or a door to a house leading into the area of a swimming pool.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission offers the following swimming pool safety tips:
 
* Swimming pool fencing and other protective barriers should be at least 4 feet high and installed completely around the pool. Fence gates should be self-closing and self-latching. The latch should be out of a small child's reach.
 
* If your house forms one side of the barrier to the pool, then doors leading from the house to the pool should be protected with alarms that produce a sound when a door is unexpectedly opened.
 

* A power safety cover -- a motor-powered barrier that can be placed over the water area -- can be used when the pool is not in use.
 
* Keep rescue equipment and a portable phone poolside with emergency numbers posted. Knowing  cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can be a lifesaver.
 
* For above-ground pools, steps and ladders should be secured and locked or removed when the pool is not in use.
 

* If a child is missing, always look in the pool first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
 

* Pool alarms can be used as an added precaution. Underwater alarms generally perform better and can be used in conjunction with pool covers. CPSC advises that consumers use remote alarm receivers so the alarm can be heard inside the house or in other places away from the pool area.

PARENTS AND GUARDIANS: ONLY YOU CAN PREVENT A DROWNING. WATCH YOUR CHILD CLOSELY AT ALL TIMES. MAKE SURE DOORS LEADING TO THE POOL AREA ARE CLOSED AND LOCKED. YOUNG CHILDREN CAN QUICKLY SLIP AWAY AND INTO THE POOL.


Pool Diving Safety

Diving injuries can result in quadriplegia, paralysis below the neck, to divers who hit the bottom or side of a swimming pool, according to CPSC.

Divers should observe the following precautions:

* Never dive into above-ground pools. They are too shallow.
 
* Don't dive from the side of an in-ground pool. Enter the water feet first.
 
* Dive only from the end of the diving board and not from the sides.
 

* Dive with your hands in front of you and always steer up immediately upon entering the water to avoid hitting the bottom or sides of the pool.
 
* Don't dive if you have been using alcohol or drugs because your reaction time may be too slow.
 
* Improper use of slides presents the same danger as improper diving techniques. Never slide down head first -- slide down feet first only.




 

[The safety information above is from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.]

 

Important Disclaimer: Answers here are not a substitute for professional advice. For reliable information of any sort you must consult an officially qualified professional in your area. You use the information on this site at your own risk.

 

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