What should a parent know about child pool safety?

A very short answer would be to never,ever, ever leave your small child alone near a pool not even for a minute...a locked door is not enough to keep an inquisitive child out of the pool area...a fence with an electronic alarm is essential. And please be aware that children can drown in bathtubs too, even if you're 'only gone for a minute." A longer, more detailed answer is that according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated 350 children under five years of age drown each year in swimming pools, many in residential pools. The Commission estimates that another 2,600 children under age five are treated in hospital emergency rooms each year following submersion incidents. Some of these submersions result in permanent brain damage. Nationally, drowning is a leading cause of death to children under five. [Click here for more about general water safety.] The key to preventing these tragedies is to have layers of protection. This includes placing barriers around your pool to prevent access, using alarms, closely supervising your child and being prepared in case of an emergency. CPSC offers these tips to prevent drowning: Fences and walls should be at least 4 feet high and installed completely around the pool. Fence gates should be self-closing and self-latching. The latch should be out of a small child's reach. If your house forms one side of the barrier to the pool, then doors leading from the house to the pool should be protected with alarms that produce a sound when a door is unexpectedly opened. A power safety cover -- a motor-powered barrier that can be placed over the water area -- can be used when the pool is not in use. Keep rescue equipment and a portable phone poolside with emergency numbers posted. Knowing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can be a lifesaver. For above-ground pools, steps and ladders should be secured and locked or removed when the pool is not in use. If a child is missing, always look in the pool first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability. Pool alarms can be used as an added precaution. Underwater alarms generally perform better and can be used in conjunction with pool covers. CPSC advises that consumers use remote alarm receivers so the alarm can be heard inside the house or in other places away from the pool area. PARENTS AND GUARDIANS: ONLY YOU CAN PREVENT A DROWNING. WATCH YOUR CHILD CLOSELY AT ALL TIMES. MAKE SURE DOORS LEADING TO THE POOL AREA ARE CLOSED AND LOCKED. YOUNG CHILDREN CAN QUICKLY SLIP AWAY AND INTO THE POOL. Diving injuries can result in quadriplegia, paralysis below the neck, to divers who hit the bottom or side of a swimming pool, according to CPSC. Divers should observe the following precautions: Never dive into above-ground pools. They are too shallow. Don't dive from the side of an in-ground pool. Enter the water feet first. Dive only from the end of the diving board and not from the sides. Dive with your hands in front of you and always steer up immediately upon entering the water to avoid hitting the bottom or sides of the pool. Don't dive if you have been using alcohol or drugs because your reaction time may be too slow. Improper use of slides presents the same danger as improper diving techniques. Never slide down head first -- slide down feet first only. == ==