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Kids, pools don't always mix well
Health advice
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The change in the weather is encouraging us to stay indoors because it’s so humid  but you may be like me and seek out the shady end of the pool whenever possible.
There is nothing like the calming effect of water. That is, unless you are a child!  And then there are few things more exhilarating.
Water activities are usually fantastic for everyone but the parents of young children. For them it is a huge responsibility. Drowning is the leading killer of children between the ages of 2 and 4. Drowning cannot be undone or “fixed.” It must be prevented. Even a near-drowning can have serious, lifelong consequences
Here are tips to keep in mind while swimming with children:
• Maintain constant supervision. Watch children around any water environment (pool, lake, tub or bucket of water), regardless of how well your child can swim or how shallow the water.
• Make sure your pool is adequately fenced and gates kept closed and locked. When possible have self-closing doors.
• Don’t rely on substitute flotation devices. Inflatable toys cannot replace parental supervision. Such devices can shift positions suddenly, lose air or slip away. Enroll children in water safety and swimming classes as early as possible. It is especially important to teach children not to jump in to help others. Instead, teach them to throw the victim something that floats or a long object to hold on to and to call an adult.
• Be up-to-date on CPR and know how to swim as well as how to prevent, recognize and respond to emergencies.
• Teach children to obey all rules and posted signs at pools. If you don’t have rules for your home pool, make some today and explain them to everyone.
• Keep buckets and other containers locked away. It doesn’t take long to fill a bucket. A child can drown in 30 seconds in only two inches of water.
• Watch out for the “dangerous too’s;” too tired, too cold, too far out, too much sun, and too much activity.
• Don’t mix alcohol and supervision. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination.
• Pay attention to weather and forecasts. Stop swimming at the first indication of bad weather.
• Protect everyone’s skin. Limit the amount of sunlight you receive between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and wear a sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 15.
• And have an especially nice, safe summer.

Ratcliffe is an information specialist with the Coastal Health District. Caller her at 876-2173, ext. 236.
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