(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) Swimming and other water activities are excellent opportunities for physical activity however they also can lead to unintentional deaths.
With summer around the corner and water growing in popularity for child’s play, LaSalle Medical Associates is urging local residents to remain cautious and vigilant around swimming pools regardless of size.
“The average 2-year-old is two-and-a-half to three feet tall so while a two foot tall wading pool seems safe to an adult, it is a danger to a small child,’’ said Dr. Albert Arteaga, president and founder of LaSalle Medical Associates Inc. on pool safety. “Small children can drown in only a few inches of water so parents, grandparents, and babysitters need to pay attention to children around any sized swimming pools.”
The leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, and the highest rate among children is drowning. This information according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In the United States, drowning is the leading cause of injury death among children ages one to four. It is estimated three in 10 drowning victims are children younger than age five.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates 260 children under age 5 drown in pools each year. The agency also estimates nearly 3,000 hospital emergency room visits are due to incidents involving children, under age five, playing in swimming pools.
“We, as adults, become complacent because children are having fun or we feel comfortable in our environment at the time. But, swimming pools are potentially dangerous for children and we have to keep this in mind all the time,” says Barbara Graber, the education and audit coordinator for LaSalle.
To prevent drowning, the recommendations are to:
Parents looking into buying small, portable pools such as a wading pool should consider those with sides rigid enough for children to grab. Also, the pool’s surface should be sturdy and not slick so as to avoid slipping.
In each of its four clinics, LaSalle’s Clinic Safety Committee has, on display, posters with pool safety tips. These posters are available to the public, LaSalle officials say.
“The idea is to keep these safety tips in the face of parents in order to convey the message,’’ Arteaga says. “Drowning can become a tragedy, but it is one that is most avoidable.”
In addition to pool safety, LaSalle is also encouraging local residents to protect their skin while enjoying time outside in the sun.
“More time in the pool means more time in the sun and the sun can cause serious sunburns even possibly leading to various levels of skin cancer later in life,’’ Graber says.
Graber suggests using sun block with a SPF of at least 15, which will stop 93 percent of the sun’s harmful ultra violet rays.
Remember to reapply after swimming, she says.
To pick up a free pool safety poster listing important safety tips for children and seniors, go to at any of the four LaSalle’s Inland Empire clinics: in San Bernardino at 1505 West 17th Street and 565 North Mt. Vernon Avenue, or in Fontana at 17577 Arrow Boulevard, and in Hesperia clinic at 16455 Main Street.
For more information or to make an appointment, call (909) 890-0407.
About LaSalle Medical Associates