According to the N.C. Division of Public Health, 138 children under the age of 18 died as the result of unintentional drowning in North Carolina between 2008 and 2012.
Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children under age 5 nationally, with rates even surpassing those of traffic accident fatalities in recent years. Many of the children treated in hospital emergency rooms for submersion injuries were being supervised by one or both parents at the time of the accident.
Safe Kids North Carolina reminds parents and caregivers to take the following precautions:
LOCK - Homeowners should put up a fence that is at least 4-feet high around all sides of a pool or spa with a locking gate that closes and latches by itself. Homeowners should cover and lock pools and spas when they are not using them, and also remove or lock ladders to above-ground pools and spas when not in use.
LOOK - Adults and caregivers must always watch children - whether the children know how to swim or not - when kids are in or near water without being distracted by phone calls, text messages, reading or talking to others. If a child is missing, look in the water first.
LEARN - Children and adults should know how to swim. Adults should learn how to use rescue equipment and correctly choose and use U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets. Caregivers should learn adult and infant CPR and teach children to never swim alone or swim near pool or spa drains.
· Is there a fence around the perimeter of your pool or spa?
· Are there self-closing and self-latching gates?
· Are there door, gate or pool alarms in use?
· Does your pool have anti-entrapment drain covers that are compliant with the P&SS Act?
· Are all pool and spa covers in working order?
· Has someone in the family received training in CPR, first aid and emergency response?
· Has everyone learned to swim?
To avoid entanglements in pools and spas, parents should make sure children have secured their long hair and are not wearing loose clothing and jewelry. If clothing, hair or jewelry becomes entangled in a pool or spa device, adults should have scissors nearby to free children from drains and other mechanical devices.
Essential pool deck emergency kit items:
· A first aid kit
· A pair of scissors to cut hair, clothing or a pool cover, if needed
· A charged portable telephone to call 911
· A flotation device
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