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News Releases

For Immediate Release

Risk of Drowning Accidents Increases With Opening of Pools for the Summer

Drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years

With summer just around the corner, many public and private pools are opening, and experts at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh want to caution parents about the dangers of drowning and near-drowning accidents.

Pittsburgh Citiparks will open 12 outdoor swimming pools beginning Friday, June 17, 2005. Opening day for pools operated by Allegheny County was Saturday, June 4, 2005.

With the opening of these pools and with vacation season beginning, trauma experts at Children's want parents to be as informed as possible on the dangers of water and how to avoid drowning or near-drowning accidents. Drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related death, second to only motor-vehicle accidents, for children 14 and younger.

"Children can drown in less than one inch or water, so it is important to be cautious around pools, on vacation at lakes and oceans or even around the home," said Barbara A. Gaines, MD, director of the Benedum Trauma Program at Children's. "Parents and adults need to be vigilant to prevent these terrible accidents. It only takes a few seconds for a toddler or child to disappear from view and jump or fall into the pool."

Children's saw 19 drowning and near-drowning cases in 2004 alone and already there has been one this year. According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, in 2000 there were 3,281 unintentional drownings in the United States, an average of nine people per day.

Children's offers tips for avoiding water-related accidents:
* Always ensure that there is an adult.
* Learn CPR.
* 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.
* Never leave a child alone near or in the water.

For more information about swimming safety and other injury prevention topics, go to and click on Injury Prevention . For classes in your community, including CPR, go to , then click on For Parents and then "Classes in Your Community."

Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-7919 or 412-692-5016,
Julia Weiskopf, 412-692-5016,

Last Update
June 17, 2008
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Last Update
June 17, 2008