Health Checkup: Water Safety

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6/30/2009

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), roughly 3,000 people drown in the United States each year. Drowning accounts for nearly 30 percent of deaths among children ages 1 to 4.

Most drowning accidents occur during the months of June, July and August. Often, children are found in a pool or spa when parents or caregivers thought the children were in another part of the house.

According to the CDC, drowning deaths can happen quickly. Most young children who drown in pools have been out of sight for less than five minutes and are in the care of one or both parents at the time.

Ways to prevent deaths from drowning include the following tips from the American College of Emergency Physicians:

• Take your children for swimming lessons with a qualified instructor as early as possible.
• Always outfit young children with life vests or approved personal flotation devices whenever they are near water.
• Enclose pools and hot tubs with fences and with self-locking gates.
• Pools should be kept free of covers or rafts that could block your view of a child.
• Avoid head and neck injuries by not diving into unfamiliar water.
• Know basic CPR skills. People who receive CPR in cases of near-drowning are less likely to suffer brain damage or death.
• Small children can drown in just a few inches of water and should never be left alone in the bathtub.

Summer should be fun for everyone, including both parents and children. Following the above tips on water safety will keep you and your family happy and safe during the hot summer weather.