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How to practice pool safety

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In 2012, 1,000 children drowned across the country and another 5,000 suffered injuries from a near-drowning experience. Practicing pool safety can help prevent children from drowning. Some tips:

• A guardian should be designated to watch children in the water at all times. Blowing a whistle helps alert others of a child drowning and to call 911.

• An alarm that can be placed on the exit of the home or in the pool alerts parents if a child steps outside or falls into the pool.

• Follow the 4-4-4 rule: Install fences on all four sides of the pool, making sure they are 4 feet high with slats separated by 4 inches.

• Cover spas and jacuzzis.

• Lock sliding doors and screen doors.

• If a child disappears from sight, first search all waterways such as pools, bathtubs and backyard lakes and ponds.

• If the child is found, do not hesitate; call 911. The dispatcher will give directions for administering CPR.

• Do not encourage breath-holding competitions among kids.

• Do not allow roughhousing in the pool or around the pool deck.

• Keep a cellphone or landline near the pool to call 911 in case of an emergency.

• Learn CPR.

• Enroll your child in swimming lessons. All children 9 months and older should be able to float in water. Children should know how to swim even when fully clothed.

— Orlando Sentinel

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