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News Releases

For Immediate Release

Swimming Pools Open Throughout the Region – Increased Risk For Drowning and Near-Drowning Tragedies Among Kids

With summer approaching, many public and private pools are opening, and experts at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC want to remind parents of water-related dangers. Over the Memorial Day weekend, two toddlers were transported to Children’s Hospital following near-drowning accidents, bringing the total to four already this year.

Opening day for pools operated by Allegheny County is Saturday, June 2, 2007, and Pittsburgh’s Citiparks will open 18 outdoor pools on Friday, June 15, 2007.

In 2006, Children’s saw 16 drowning and near-drowning cases, compared with six the previous year. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 300 children under the age of five drown in residential pools and hot tubs each year.

Experts at Children’s say adults should be extremely alert when children are around any body of water. Young children are in danger of drowning in less then one inch of water. That includes: pools, lakes, oceans and even buckets of water.

“Many people don’t realize how quickly kids can disappear from sight and drown” said Barbara A. Gaines, MD, director of the Benedum Pediatric Trauma Program at Children's. “A child can lose consciousness after two minutes under water. Permanent brain damage can occur within four to six minutes.”

Drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related death, second to only motor-vehicle accidents, for children 14 and younger. Doctors at Children’s agree that it’s wise for adults, parents and older siblings to learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), which, in case of a near- drowning emergency, can save lives. Non-certification CPR courses are offered for parents and other adults at Children’s locations in Wexford, Bethel Park and Monroeville.

Tips for avoiding water-related accidents:

  • Never leave a child alone near or in the water.
  • Always ensure an adult is present.
  • Enforce all pool rules, including no running, pushing people in or dunking other swimmers.
  • Make sure children know the depth of the water.
  • Keep a first aid kit, phone and emergency numbers near the water.
  • Install a fence or wall around the pool and keep it locked.

View a schedule of CPR courses offered through Children’s.
Learn more about swimming safety on Children’s injury prevention Web site.


Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-7919 or 412-692-5016,
Melanie Finnigan, 412-692-5502 or 412-692-5016,

Last Update
April 23, 2008
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Last Update
April 23, 2008