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Keep the Little Ones Safe, Follow Pool Safety Guidelines

Pool safety should be on the minds of every parent out there. If you are lucky enough to own an above ground pool or inground pool, you know there are certain safety precautions you must take to protect your children and the children of your friends and neighbors. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 300 children under age 5 die and 2000 more children under age 5 visit hospital emergency rooms for submersion injuries every year. That's staggering. Some of the Sun Belt states list drowning as the leading cause of accidental death in the home of children under 5. These accidents usually occur in pools that are owned by their own family. These accidents happen quickly and a child can drowned in the time it takes to answer the phone. Usually the child that is in trouble is silent as there is no splashing around alerting anyone that they are in trouble. Medical costs are staggering and if the severely injured sustain brain damage, the expenses are even higher. Because of the dangers of a pool in your backyard, most cities require specific guidelines be followed for safety. As a homeowner and pool owner there are things you can do to prevent these accidents.

Barriers such as a fences or walls should be installed as a layer of protection to the child. When it comes to fences, use the rule of "4". This fence needs to be at least four feet tall with no foot steps or hand rails available for the child to grab onto or climb up on. Fence slats should be no less than four inches apart so the child can't squeeze through. Fence latches should be self closing and self latching. Make sure the latch is at a height where the child cannot reach over and unlatch the door. As long as the door latches automatically and closes properly, this is the safest thing you can do for your child. It is sort of the first line of defense against the pool. You can install door alarms for the house so you know when a little one is going outside. You can have an alarm that can temporarily be turned off by an adult. The pool can have a safety cover so no one can fall in. If you own a hot tub or spa you should follow the same barrier guideline as for the pool. Steps and ladders leading from a pool should be locked or removed so little ones aren't tempted to go near the water.

As a parent, you have rules for your children in most things such don't cross the street before you look both ways, and not opening the door to strangers. It should be no different when it comes to pool safety. Rules for your children and the babysitters that take care of them are crucial. Sitters need to understand that there is never a time when the child can be alone around the water even for a second. It would also be a good idea if they were trained in CPR. Don't forget about the drowning time for a child is the time it takes to answer that phone that is ringing inside. If you are having a pool party, there should be a designated watcher for the children at all times. Someone is always on guard. If a child is missing, always check the pool first, top and bottom. Even if your older children know how to swim, they are never drowned proof. They must all be watched closely. Rescue equipment should be always close to the pool and toys should be away from the pool when they are not in use. Pools are fun and like anything else in life can be dangerous if not used correctly. Take the time to properly educate your children about the rules and regulations regarding the pool and you will have a safer children and neighborhood.

Beverly Hlavka is a successful freelance writer offering guidance and suggestions for consumers buying hot tubs, pool supplies, pool heaters, saunas and more. Her many articles can be found at http://www.sauna-4u.com/above_ground_pools.htm . She also gives information and tips at http://www.sauna-4u.com/index.htm to help you save money and make informed buying decisions.

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