Water Safety – President’s Message: August 2

By Dr. Mary Campagnolo, MSNJ President

As the summer heat continues, it is important to share the critical importance of water safety with your patients. According to a report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 10 people die from unintentional drowning every day. Of these drowning victims, two are children age 14 or younger. Drowning is the leading cause of injury death among children ages 1-4, and occurs most commonly in a swimming pool.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Pool Safely campaign is a national public education effort to reduce child drownings, near-drownings and entrapments in swimming pools and spas. The campaign’s message is that Simple Steps Save Lives.

Simple water steps that could help families avoid a tragedy include:

Rule #1 – Never leave a child unattended around a pool, spa, bathtub or any body of water.

When visiting a pool or spa:

  • Teach children basic water safety skills.
  • Learn how to swim and ensure your children know how to swim as well.
  • Avoid entrapment by keeping children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings.
  • Have a phone close by at all times when visiting a pool or spa.
  • If a child is missing, look for the child in the pool or spa first, including neighbors’ pools or spas.
  • Share safety instructions with family, friends, babysitters and neighbors.

 If you have a pool:

  • Install a 4-foot fence around the perimeter of the pool and spa, including portable pools.
  • Use self-closing and self-latching gates; ask neighbors to do the same if they have pools or spas.
  • If your house serves as the fourth side of a fence around a pool, install and use a door or pool alarm.
  •  Maintain pool and spa covers in good working order.
  • Ensure any pool or spa you use has compliant drain covers; ask if you do not know.
  • Have life-saving equipment such as life rings, floats or a reaching pole available and easily accessible

 At home:

  • Always keep a young child within arm’s reach in a bathtub. If you must leave, take the child with you.
  • Don’t leave a baby or young child in a bathtub under the care of another young child.
  • Never leave a bucket or basin containing even a small amount of liquid unattended.
  • Always empty and store buckets where young children cannot reach them.
  • Consider placing locks on toilet seat covers in case a young child wanders into the bathroom.

Visit www.PoolSafely.gov  for more information.

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About MSNJ

Founded in 1766, the Medical Society of New Jersey is the oldest professional society in the United States. The organization and its dues-paying members are dedicated to a healthy New Jersey, working to ensure the sanctity of the physician–patient relationship. In representing all medical disciplines, MSNJ advocates for the rights of patients and physicians alike, for the delivery of the highest quality medical care. This allows response to the patients’ individual, varied needs, in an ethical and compassionate environment, in order to create a healthy Garden State and healthy citizens.

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