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Swimming pool safety

By Staff
Experts advise gates, caution
When families buy homes with swimming pools, have a new pool built or buy an aboveground pool, they look forward to years of family fun and wonderful memories. But to ensure that all the memories are good ones, it's vital to be aware of potential dangers, and take safety measures.
According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control, drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death for children ages 1 to 4 in the United States.
In addition, statistics from both the CDC and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) show that hospital treatment for near drowning is required for many children each year. Studies have shown that a significant number of drowning survivors suffer moderate to severe brain damage, which is not widely known.
"It happens everywhere, in ordinary neighborhoods, to caring, vigilant parents," Marcia Kerr, a CPSC investigator, said.
"Homeowners should take steps immediately to ensure the safety of children who live in or visit their homes. Layers of protection are essential," said Kerr, who lost her own son to a drowning accident.
Constant adult supervision is vital, but most parents of toddlers will attest to the fact that it's impossible to supervise your children every second of every day. Isolation fencing and other barriers can give parents the time they need to realize their child is missing and to locate them.
Isolation fencing separates the pool from the home, as opposed to property line fencing, better known as "perimeter" fencing. Property line fencing keeps your neighbors' children from accessing your pool, but does nothing to protect children in your own home.
Isolation fencing can either totally surround the pool or can enclose the patio and all doors leading from the home, to protect children who get out the door from moving beyond the patio. Parents of toddlers should ensure "doggy doors" are locked or within fenced areas. For above-ground pools, a smaller fence and gate surrounding the steps or ladder can be effective in preventing toddler access.
Note that pool gates should be lockable for when homeowners are away from the property, but not self-locking. Since guests would not have a key, homeowners are likely to prop open a self-locking pool gate during a pool party, and that presents a significant danger to toddlers who may slip in unnoticed.
For other pool safety tips:
With "layers of protection" in place, you can look forward to years of safe relaxation and enjoyment of your pool.

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