Uploaded: Monday, June 11, 2012, 11:15 AM
Palo Alto police issue pool-safety warning
Drowning is leading cause of death for children ages 1 through 4
|As this week heats up, Palo Alto police are asking parents to review pool and spa safety tips. Drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1 through 4, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
"There's a great website, PoolSafely.gov, that has a wealth of information for parents and families. If you're going to have your little ones around water this summer, you should check out www.poolsafely.gov," noted Lt. Zach Perron.
An average of 390 children less than one year old through age 14 tragically die in pool and spa drownings each year across the United States, and 5,200 more go to the emergency room with injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
In the third year of its Pool Safely: Simple Steps Save Lives campaign, the commission's annual report focused on populations most at risk for drowning. The study found that children younger than age 5 represent 75 percent of child drowning fatalities.
African American and Hispanic children between the ages of 5 and 14 drowned at higher rates than white children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Data from USA Swimming indicates that 70 percent of African American children and 62 percent of Hispanic children cannot swim, making them especially vulnerable populations.
The May 24 report -- Pool and Spa Submersions 2012 -- also found:
An estimated annual average of 5,200 pool- or spa-related emergency-department-treated submersion injuries for children younger than 15 from 2009-2011. Children younger than 5 represented 79 percent -- or 4,108 -- of these injuries.
Children between the ages of 1 and 3 (12 months through 47 months) represented 66 percent of estimated injuries for 2009-2011, and 67 percent of the reported fatalities for 2007-2009 involving children younger than 15 years.
The majority of the estimated emergency-department-treated submersion injuries for 2009-2011 and the reported fatalities for 2007-2009 were associated with pools.
Approximately 51 percent of the estimated injuries for 2009-2011 and 73 percent of the fatalities for 2007-2009 involving children younger than 15 years old occurred at a residence.
Residential locations dominated incidents involving victims younger than 5 years of age (54 percent for injuries; 85 percent for fatalities).
Approximately 58 percent of fatalities occurred in in-ground pools. Portable pools accounted for 10 percent of the reported fatalities to children younger than 15 years of age.
A second report, Circulation/Suction Entrapments 2012, focused on drownings where the victim is sucked down by a pump or is caught in an opening.
The following are some of the safety steps recommended on PoolSafety.gov:
Stay close, be alert:
Always watch children when they are in or near a pool or spa
Teach children basic water safety tips
Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments
Have a portable telephone close by at all times
If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first
Learn and practice water-safety skills:
Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim
Learn to perform CPR on children and adults, and update those skills regularly
Have appropriate pool or spa equipment:
Install a 4-foot or taller fence around the pool and spa and use self-closing and self-latching gates; ask neighbors to do the same at their pools
Install and use a lockable safety cover on the spa
If your house serves as a fourth side of a fence around a pool, install door alarms and always use them. For additional protection, install window guards on windows facing pools or spas
Install pool and gate alarms to alert you when children go near the water
Ensure any pool and spa you use has compliant drain covers, and ask your pool service provider if you do not know
Maintain pool and spa covers in good working order
Consider using a surface wave or underwater alarm
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