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For Immediate Release

Pool Season Off to Tragic Start - Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Experts Offer Tips to Make This Summer Safe in the Water

With schools letting out and summer vacations starting, many public and private pools are opening, and experts at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh want to remind people of the risk of drowning and near-drowning accidents. Since Memorial Day weekend, four patients have been admitted to Children's for near-drowning accidents.

Beginning Friday, June 16, 2006, Pittsburgh Citiparks will open 15 outdoor pools. The three wave pools and one outdoor pool operated by Allegheny County opened June 3. Because young children can drown in less than one inch of water, it is important to be careful around any pools, lakes, oceans, and also tubs, buckets and other water containers around the home.

"It only takes a few seconds for a toddler or child to disappear from view and jump or fall into the pool. There should always be an adult who is designated to watch the pool and child should never be left alone near water. Drowning can be very silent, with little or no splashing or thrashing around," said Barbara A. Gaines, MD, director of the Benedum Pediatric Trauma Program at Children's. "Often, the risk of drowning is associated with large bodies of water or pools, but the small plastic or inflatable pools families have in their backyards are just as dangerous."

In 2003, there were 3,306 drowning and near-drowning accidents in the United States, averaging nine a day, according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Children's has seen seven drowning cases in the past five years.

Experts at Children's offer tips to prevent water-related injuries:

  • Always be sure there is an adult present.
  • If a child is missing, check the pool first.
  • Learn CPR.
  • Enforce all pool rules, including no running, pushing or dunking other swimmers.
  • Make sure children know the depth of the water.
  • Don't jump or dive in shallow water.
  • Keep a first aid kit, phone and emergency numbers near the pool.
  • Install a fence around the pool area and keep it locked.
  • Never leave a child alone near or in the water.

Take Children's water safety quiz.

Learn more about CPR and other classes offered by Children's.

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

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