From the Office of the Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein
June 19, 2015
Contact: Mary C. St. Mary / Mary.StMary@Erie.Gov
Phone: (716) 858-4941 / Mobile: (716)253-3925
Warm Weather Brings Pool Safety Concerns
Children of all Ages Need to be Supervised while Swimming
ERIE COUNTY, NY — As the school year comes to a close, the Erie County Department of Health (“ECDOH”) wants to remind parents and caregivers of children of all ages to take the necessary precautions to ensure summer swimming fun remains safe.
“The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) estimates that each year, nearly 300 children younger than five years drown in swimming pools and spas and an additional 4,000 children that age present to hospital emergency departments for non-fatal submersion injuries. An unknown number of these hospitalizations result in permanent disability, including brain damage. These deaths and injuries are entirely preventable,” said Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein
Follow these water safety steps to help keep everyone safe:
Stay Close, Be Alert and Watch
1. Never leave a child unattended in or near a pool or spa and always watch your children closely around all bodies of water. Designate a Water Watcher to supervise children in the pool or spa. This person should not be reading, texting, using a smart phone or be otherwise distracted. Adults can take turns being a Water Watcher.
2. Teach children basic water safety tips.
3. If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first.
4. Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments.
5. Ensure any pool and spa you use has drain covers that comply with federal standards, and, if you do not know, ask your pool service provider whether your covers are in compliance.
6. Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim.
7. Learn how to perform CPR on children and adults, and update those skills regularly.
8. Install a four-foot or taller fence around the perimeter of the pool and spa and use self-closing and self-latching gates; ask your neighbors to do the same at their pools.
9. Install and use a lockable safety cover on your spa.
10. Have lifesaving equipment such as life rings, floats or a reaching pole available and easily accessible.
“Adding a few extra safety steps in and around pools and spas can make all the difference,” concluded Burstein.
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