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Stay safe in the water
Drowning is a tragedy that can be prevented
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 It is summer and its is warm. Folks are headed to pools and lakes for a dip to cool down. 

But, as recent news reports indicate, there is danger in that water. There were two reported drownings in the state in the past few days. 

Safe Kids Kansas reports that drowning is the second highest cause of unintentional death for children ages 1 to 4 in both the U.S. and

Kansas. From 2000-2009, there were 73 unintentional drowning related deaths in Kansans age 14 years and younger. 

Safe Kids Kansas offers the following tips to keep children safe around pools and spas this summer:

• Never leave your child unattended around water, even for a moment.  

• Put the cell phone away, forget about all the other things you have to do and give young children 100 percent of your attention when they are near or around water.  

• Empty all tubs, buckets, containers and wading pools immediately after use. Store them upside down and out of children’s reach. Small children can drown in as little as one inch of water.

• When there are several adults present and children are swimming, use the Water Watcher card strategy, which designates an adult as the Water Watcher for a certain amount of time (such as 15-minute periods) to prevent lapses in supervision.  

• Every child is different, so enroll children in swimming lessons when you feel they are ready, but don’t assume swimming lessons make your child immune to drowning. 

• Teach children to swim with a partner, every time. From the start, teach children to never go near or in water without an adult present.

• Remember that swimming aids such as water wings or noodles are fun toys for kids, but they should never be relied upon for safety and cannot be used in place of a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device (PFD).

• Don’t leave toys in or near the pool, where they could attract unsupervised kids.

• Make sure backyard pools have four-sided fencing that’s at least four-feet high and a self-closing, self-latching gate to prevent a child from wandering into the pool area unsupervised. Consider a pool alarm or gate alarm to alert you if a child wanders into your pool area unsupervised.

• Educate your children about the dangers of drain entanglement and entrapment and teach them to never play or swim near drains or suction outlets.

• If you do have pool or spa drains, protective measures include anti-entrapment drain covers and a safety vacuum release system to automatically release suction and shut down the pump should entrapment occur.  

• Keep rescue equipment, a phone and emergency numbers by the pool.

• Learning CPR should be on the top of the list. 

Even a near-drowning incident can have lifelong consequences. Kids who survive a near-drowning may have brain damage, and after four to six minutes under water – the damage is usually irreversible.

Dale Hogg