Posted Date: Thursday, July 19, 2012

Oakland, CA (PRWEB)

If you’re lucky enough to have frequent access to a swimming pool during the hot Oakland summer months, the pool area is probably your family’s go-to hangout spot. However, it’s easy to forget that this cool haven can also be a deadly trap. Every day, an average of 10 people in the United States drown unintentionally, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 19 percent of all unintentional drowning incidents occur in pools. Drowning also happens to be the second highest cause of accidental death for children 1 to 14 years of age. Following these four major pool safety tips will help keep you and your loved ones safe this season.

Get Skilled 

Certainly, the most effective safety tip is: Learn to swim. In fact, children as young as 1 to 4 years of age are at about an 88 percent lower risk of drowning if they take swimming lessons, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Oakland offers many different options for learning to swim including the American Red Cross, the local Oakland YMCA, or many health clubs. Don’t despair, though, if you’re well into your adult years and you still haven’t learned how to swim. The American Red Cross and other organizations offer a variety of swimming lessons designed for people from different backgrounds. It’s important to keep in mind that taking swimming lessons isn’t a foolproof safety measure. Because strong swimmers can still accidentally drown, you should also consider signing up for an Oakland CPR class. Performing CPR while you wait for paramedics to arrive could save a life. The American Heart Association provides official CPR & First-aid certification classes.

Install and Use Safety Equipment 

Take an additional step of precaution by installing a proper barrier around your pool and hot tub area. The American Red Cross and local East Bay building code recommends that pool barriers be at least 4 feet in height and have gates that self-close, self-latch, and open out away from the pool. The barrier’s gate should also have a latch that is higher than small children can reach. Furthermore, use a sturdy safety cover any time you don’t plan to use the pool or hot tub. To deter children from trying to enter the pool area creatively, move away any possible items – such as patio furniture or a tree – that would allow them to gain access without supervision. Also make the pool area less attractive to children by keeping pool toys away from the pool when the family isn’t actively using them.

Always Supervise 

Children should never be allowed to swim without an adult actively watching them, even if they’re strong swimmers or they’re wearing a flotation device such as water wings or an inner tube. Infants should always be within arm’s reach. Although you know you will actively be watching your children, help them take some responsibility for their personal safety by enforcing some family pool safety rules. The list of basic pool rules should include: Do not run next to the pool, do not roughhouse in or around the water, do not eat food or chew gum in the pool, and stay far away from pipes and drains.

Be Prepared 

We hope an accident will never happen, but according to the statistics, accidental drownings happen every year in Oakland/Berkeley. It is important to act quickly in an emergency by calling 911. If the child is not breathing and has no pulse, start CPR. The American Heart Association teaches official Adult, Child, and Infant CPR classes in Oakland/Berkeley on a regular basis.