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Make Water Safety a Priority for Your Kids

SATURDAY, July 2 (HealthDay News) -- Drowning is the second leading cause of death among U.S. children ages 1 to 19, and parents need to watch their children closely when they're around water, a doctor says.

"Children can drown even in the smallest body of water, including toilets, portable pools, decorative fountains, buckets and bathtubs," Dr. Wendy Pomerantz, an emergency room doctor at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, said in a hospital news release.

"Any time you have a standing body of water that is accessible, make sure you supervise your child at all times," she advised.

There are a number of steps adults can take to make sure children are safe when they're playing around water, said Pomerantz, one of the coordinators for the Comprehensive Children's Injury Center.

Here are some tips from Pomerantz and the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • All caregivers should learn CPR.
  • Never leave a toy in or around a pool.
  • Never leave a child alone in or near a pool. An adult should always be within arm's length.
  • Children ages 1 to 4 years old should take swimming lessons. But you need to remember that teaching children to swim does not guarantee their safety in the water.
  • Teach children to never run, push or jump on others around water. Teach them never to swim alone.
  • There should be a phone by the pool, along with rescue equipment such as a life preserver and a shepherd's hook, which is a long pole with a hook at the end.
  • Pools should be surrounded by a fence at least 4-feet high. Pool gates should self-close and self-latch at a height unreachable by small children.
  • If you have an inflatable or plastic pool, empty it of water after each use and turn it upside down.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about water safety for kids.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, news release, June 27, 2011

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