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For Immediate Release

Children’s Hospital Warns Parents about the Dangers of Drowning and Near-Drowning Accidents as Swimming Season Begin

Summer is approaching along with soaring temperatures and many kids are putting on their favorite swimsuits, so experts at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC want to caution parents about the dangers of drowning and near-drowning accidents in local and private pools.

Pools operated by Allegheny County opened last weekend and Pittsburgh Citiparks open their outdoor swimming pools beginning today.

With the opening of pools around the area to help beat the heat, more drowning deaths occur in summer than any other time of year so it is very important to take precautions, according to Barbara A. Gaines, MD, director of Children’s Benedum Pediatric Trauma Program. In 2006 and again in 2007, 16 patients were admitted to Children’s because of near-drowning accidents. Nationwide, drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related death, second only to motor-vehicle accidents for children 14 and younger.

“Many people don’t realize that any container of water, from a bucket to a kiddie pool to a community pool, poses a risk to kids, especially toddlers,” Dr. Gaines said. “Parents need to supervise their children at all times when they are around water or a day at the pool could end in tragedy. It is also vital for parents and any caregiver who is watching a child to learn CPR, which can be life-saving.”

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 300 children under the age of 5 drown in residential swimming pools and hot tubs each year, and 3,000 children in the same age group are treated in emergency rooms for submersion accidents. Nonfatal drowning accidents also can have severe consequences. Nonfatal drownings can cause brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities including learning disabilities and memory problems.

To make sure your child has a safe and fun summer, make sure there are designated rules when it comes to swimming. Experts at Children’s say adults should be extremely alert when children are around any body of water. Other tips for preventing water-related accidents include:

  • Always ensure that there is adult supervision when children are swimming
  • Never leave a child alone or near the water
  • Make sure children know the depth of the water
  • Learn CPR
  • Install a fence or wall that surrounds the pool

Learn more swimming safety tips.
For a complete list of classes in your community, including CPR, visit our Community Education calendar.


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

Last Update
June 18, 2008
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Last Update
June 18, 2008