Swimming pool safety tips

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- It is a terrible tragedy that a swimming pool built for pleasure and relaxation so often ends in the drowning death of an infant.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there may be approximately 500 residential pool drownings annually, and about 3,000 residential near-drownings involving children under five that require emergency room medical treatment. Many near drowning victims suffer permanent brain damage.

A typical home drowning victim is a boy between one and three years of age. In most cases, no one even knows the child is in the pool, and in half the cases, he was last seen inside the house. These facts speak to the need for much closer supervision of swimming pools and the people attracted to them.

Kids and Pools
· Constant, vigilant supervision is the key to poolside safety when children are nearby. Learn CPR!
· Never leave a child alone near any body of water ... even for an instant!
· Do not assume a child can swim just because he or she has had swimming lessons.
· Do not rely on inflatable toys or water wings to keep a child afloat. They are not life jackets.
· Do not bring tricycles or wheel toys into the pool area. Children could accidentally ride them into the water.
· Cut out the horseplay. Pools are for swimming, not wrestling and tumbling.
· Indicate the break between the deep and shallow areas with a semipermanent float line.
· During social gatherings, designate an adult to supervise children.

Adults at Risk, Too
· Never swim alone or allow others to.
· Poor swimmers or non-swimmers should always stay in shallow water.
· Always completely remove pool covers before swimming. They can trap a swimmer underneath them. Do not walk or crawl on the covers.
· Do not swim when you are overly tired or on medication.
· Never swim when you are intoxicated.
· Review pool rules with guests.

Diving Precautions 

According to the National Safety Council, the typical victim of a diving accident is a young male between the ages of 13 and 33. In half the accidents, alcohol had been consumed before the dive. To reduce the dangers in a pool, especially spinal cord injuries:

· Dive only from the diving board. Never dive from the side of the pool, where you might collide with the opposite wall or the shallow pool bottom.
· Do not dive into an aboveground pool.
· Do not run and dive. The added momentum can carry you too deep and too far.
· Do not dive backward or try complicated dives in backyard pools. They are not built for this kind of activity.
· Children (and adults) should not slide headfirst down a water slide. This minimizes the risk of hitting the head on the bottom of the pool.