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Pool safety tips for parents and children

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - The number one rule: Never leave a young child unattended near water.

According to the American Red Cross, more than 200 young children drown in backyard swimming pools each year. 

The Red Cross also says any children who drown in home pools are out of sight for less than five minutes.

"Parents are outside ... maybe there is a pool outside. The phone rings inside and they go to answer the phone. They come back out and there's a casualty," says Jay Rosenthaf, with the American Red Cross Mahoning Valley.

Children or inexperienced swimmers should wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket; anything else isn't enough.

"To put the little floaties on, or a bubble on and say 'oh now my child is safe in the water' is not the answer," says Rosenthaf. 

To make sure everyone in the family learns to swim well, the Red Cross offers lessons beginning at six months of age.

However, if you have a pool, there's more you can do to make sure it's safe for everyone.

The Red Cross suggests completely surrounding the pool with a four-foot high fence or barrier with a self-closing and self-latching gate. 

Also, remove any ladders when the pool is not being used.

"We have a ladder for safety. You take the ladder off when you're not in the pool and put it away, this way no one can climb up into the pool," says Bob Ballone with Austintown Pools and Spas.

Another option is to have a pool alarm installed.

The alarm will go off if anyone enters the pool.

"For a little more than $200 you could pick up something that has the alarm system with a monitor that's in the house. So even if your kids are in the house with you, you would know if someone else happened to go in," Ballone says. 

Fore more on swimming safety, or to sign up for a CPR class, visit Red Cross.org.

 

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