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Making a splash with pool safety

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Amanda Crane/Press-Tribune Bossier City resident Kayllie Coco enjoys her summer afternoon by taking a plunge in her pool. While fun, pools can be dangerous if some basic safety rules are ignored.

Important to remember basic

guidelines a year after tragic drownings

 

Joshua Specht

jspecht@bossierpress.com

 

After last year’s tragic summer when three children drown in Bossier parish, parents and swimmers should take to their back yard with a sense of caution this season.

Two twin four-year-old sisters, Angel and Aubrie Smith, and a 13-month-old also drown in June 2012. This is not uncommon, according to the Red Cross, as children ages one to four have the highest drowning rates and drowning is the number one killer of children under the age of 5.

“Private pools are more dangerous because a lot of the time kids go unsupervised, rather than being watched by a certified lifeguard,” said Michelle Davison, Assistant Executive Director of the NWLA Red Cross.

Although a pool is a relaxing, entertaining oasis, it can also be very dangerous. The key to avoiding injury or tragedy is taking steps to prevent them from ever becoming an issue.

“The biggest concern when kids are swimming is their safety and awareness of the water,” said Davison.

The website, poolsafely.gov, says to never leave a child unattended around water — it only takes a momentary to put the child at risk and babies can drown in as little as one inch of water.

Davison says one easy step to stay safe is always swim with a buddy.

“Swimming with somebody is always good especially if your are at a private pool,” she said.

Pool Safely also notes the majority of drowning occurs in residential swimming pools and spas. About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger. For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.

Davison said one of the best methods to prevent drowning is if a child does not know how to swim and is old enough, make them take swimming lessons to learn.

“I think swimming lessons are great, they give kids real professional help in the water,” said Michelle.

Establish rules for your family and friends.

n For example, poolsafely.gov says to set limits based on each person’s ability, do not let anyone play around drains and suction fittings, and do not allow swimmers to hyperventilate before swimming under water or have breath-holding contests.

n It is best to use the buddy system so you can look out for one another, but do not trust a child’s life to another child.

n Teach children to always ask permission to go near water.

n Make sure if a child does not know how to swim to make them use some type of floatation device. It n Have boundaries for kids around and inside of the pool.

n Simple rules such as no running and no play fighting are easy ways to keep kids safe.

Even though your backyard can be dangerous, with a few rules, a careful eye and some caution, you can still have tons of fun.

“You can be safe and still have a great time playing in the pool,” said Davison.