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As summer heats up, families search out ways to keep cool. A favorite of many families, young and old, is a trip to the pool.

In order to keep your family safe this year, let's take a moment to review some safety tips.

According to PoolSafety.gov, "Each year, nearly 300 children under the age of five drown in residential and public pools and spas. Submersion incidents requiring emergency-room treatment or hospitalization number in the thousands and many victims experience permanent disability, including brain damage."

This is a scary reality, but one that with some proper precautions can be avoided. Here are some pool safety tips to protect you and yours.

1. Never leave children unattended. This is the most important of the precautions listed here. Accidents happens quickly and without warning. Even stepping inside to answer a phone call can be enough time for disaster to strike. Did you know that 77 percent of the children who drown had been seen 5 minutes or less before being missed and subsequently discovered in the pool?

2. Take swim lessons. Swimming is an important life skill, one that could save your child's life. Most local communities offer swimming lessons, but if the cost is not in your budget, then be sure to take on this task yourself. There may never be a more important skill you'll teach your child.

3. Learn CPR. Every teenager and adult should be CPR certified. Consider these stats from the American Heart Association:

  • If bystander CPR is not provided, a sudden cardiac arrest victim's chances of survival fall 7 to 10 percent for every minute of delay until defibrillation.
  • Effective bystander CPR, provided immediately after cardiac arrest, can double a victim’s chance of survival.

4. If you have young children, then install a pool fence. Be sure it locks securely. This extra deterrent will keep curious kids from finding their way into the pool area.

5. Install a pool cover. As a second line of defense, install a pool cover, so that children are unable to accidentally slip into the water. But never swim with the pool partially covered. Children could become trapped under the cover.

6. Remove toys after use. Why? Children could return to the pool area after swimming to retrieve a toy, or see one floating and reach for it.

7. Use non-slip materials. Be sure to use these materials on the pool deck, diving board and ladders. This is as much for your safety as for your children's.

8. When using water slides, always go feet first. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSP), "Many severe injuries result from falling on slippery walkways and decks and falling from diving boards and ladders. Diving and jumping into shallow water also are major causes of serious injuries."

9. Keep electrical appliances away from water. There is a hazard of shock when any electrical device get wet. This includes radios!

10. Be sure baby-sitters have pool safety skills. All baby-sitters should be able to swim, have access to pool safety items such as floats and poles, know CPR, and have phone numbers ready in case of an emergency.

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