Just Keep Swimming: Pool safety for parents

Warmer weather sends many people into the water. That makes summer a high time for drowning and other water-related injuries. Some common injuries can include pulled muscles and swimmer’s ear, but drowning is far too prevalent. Fortunately, many water-related injuries are preventable and treatable.
With oceans, lakes, rivers and pools there are tons of options when it comes to swimming. Each of these carries with it its own hazards and safety risks. Surprisingly, residential swimming pools claim the most injuries per year.
David Goo, a pediatric emergency physician at Gwinnett Medical Center, shares his swim safety tips to use this summer. By practicing pool safety you can minimize pool-related injuries or even better, prevent them entirely, as Dr. Goo emphasizes, “Just a second of inattention can cause a lifetime of pain.”
Here are 7 steps to help protect your little swimmers this summer:
Have a Swim Buddy! Never leave your child alone near water at or in the home, or around any body of water, including a swimming pool. If children are less than five years old, there should be an adult within arm’s length providing touch supervision.
Get Certified! Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and infant and child first-aid. This can do a world of good in dangerous situations, helping both adults and children.
Keep it Secure! Don’t rely on personal flotation devices (PDFs) or swimming lessons to protect your child. Install childproof fencing around swimming pools. It is recommended that fencing should be at least four feet high and around all four sides.
Have a Poolside Safety Kit! Make sure you have rescue equipment, a telephone, and emergency phone numbers near the swimming pool for quick access. Make sure everyone who uses the pool knows where these items are located.
Stay Afloat! Insist that your child wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device on boats at all times, especially if your child doesn’t know how to swim. However, be mindful of large inflatable rafts, children can get trapped underneath.
Stay Safe in the Shallow End! Don’t allow children to dive in waters less than 9 feet deep. Keep a look out for signs indicating dive safety and depth.
Take It Slow! Always walk around swimming pools, don’t run. Surfaces around pools are slippery and could cause a fall.

Keep these tips in mind for swim safety, no matter the season. Remember, even little things like frequent sunscreen application and staying hydrated can help minimize swim risks in big ways.
While we hope you’ll never need our emergency departments or Children’s Emergency Center, we’re open to care for you and your family 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and are staffed by expert doctors and nurses specially trained in emergency care. 


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