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Lowering swimming pool risks

The summer weather has arrived and that means many people in Prince Georges County are having backyard barbecues and opening their swimming pool. However, it also means that the risk of a child drowning in a pool rises. Every year, swimming pools claim the lives of more than 200 children, according to the American Red Cross. Sadly, many of these fatal accidents can be prevented through implementing safety measures around the pool.

One of these measures is the use of life jackets by children who are not strong swimmers. The life jackets should have the approval of the U.S. Coast Guard. Additionally, the children should never be allowed near, or in a pool, without proper supervision. If people are inviting neighbors or family members over, they should make sure that there is another adult or responsible person there to watch the children.

To prevent children from accessing the pool, property owners should install fences and self-latching gates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the gate latch should not be within reach of young arms, and that the fence should be no less than four feet in height. It is estimated that a four-sided fencing can prevent over half of drownings involving children.

If children are in the pool, there should be someone “within arm’s length” to grab the child if the child starts struggling. Even if there is a lifeguard, parents and other adults should never assume that the lifeguard will see the child sink under the water. Flotation devices cannot protect a child from drowning either, and as such, parents should not rely on toys such as inner-tubes, foam toys or water wings to keep their child safe.

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