“The average 2-year-old is two-and-a-half to three feet tall, so while a wading pool seems safe to an adult, it is a danger to a small child,” said Dr. Albert Arteaga, president, and CEO of LaSalle Medical Associates
SAN BERNARDINO, CALIF. Summer is here, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reminds us that more children ages 1–4 die from drowning than any other cause of death, and for children ages 5–14, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death after motor vehicle crashes.
Hotter days are coming, motivating many youngsters to head for the pool to swim and play in the water. LaSalle Medical Associates is urging residents to remain cautious and vigilant around swimming pools regardless of size, even small inflatable pools less than a foot deep.
“The average 2-year-old is two-and-a-half to three feet tall, so while a wading pool seems safe to an adult, it is a danger to a small child,” said Dr. Albert Arteaga, president, and CEO 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 size swimming pool.”
The CDC goes on to note that every year sees some 4,000 fatal unintentional drownings, an average of 11 deaths a day. Other nonfatal drownings add 4,000 more incidents and while the drowning victim survives, they may suffer long-term health problems and incur expensive hospital stays.
“Swimming can be deceptive,” says Barbara Graber, the education and audit coordinator for LaSalle. “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.”
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 to avoid slipping.
In each of its six clinics, LaSalle’s Clinic Safety Committee has posters on display with pool safety tips. These posters are available at no charge to the public, LaSalle officials say.
“The idea is to keep parents aware of these safety tips to convey the message,” Arteaga says. “Drowning can become a tragedy, but it is most avoidable.”
In addition to pool safety, LaSalle also encourages 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 sunblock with an SPF of at least 15, which will stop 93 percent of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.
Remember to reapply after swimming, she says.
To download a free pool safety poster listing important safety tips for children and seniors, go to Free Pool Safety Poster.
For more information or to make an appointment, call 1-855-349-6019.
About LaSalle Medical Associates
LaSalle is also an Independent Practice Association (IPA) of independently contracted doctors, hospitals, and clinics, delivering high-quality patient care to approximately 365,000 patients in Fresno, Kings, Los Angeles, Madera, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Tulare counties.