VALDOSTA -- Driving hazards are not the only danger summer brings.

As the weather heats up, some may venture into the water for relief or suffer from not getting enough fluids.

In 2004, 2,300 children were treated in hospital emergency rooms for pool submersion injuries. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported there are 250 drowning deaths of children under 5 each year in swimming pools -- of which most are residential, according to The Poynter Institute Online.

For safety, CPSC recommends putting up a fence or hooking up alarms around the pool area.

Amanda Webb, aquatics director at the Valdosta YMCA, said the fence should have a lock that is at least 4 feet high.

Webb also said there are motion sensors pool owners can buy that will detect anything that falls into the pool, whether it's a ball, dog or a child.

Parents can also give their children a quick swim test.

"Have them jump into the deep end and swim all the way to the shallow end," Webb said, adding that parents should also have children tread water in the deep end so they will be able to call if help is needed. "Always make sure children are well supervised while in the pool."

Putting children in swimming lessons is also a good way for children to gain knowledge.

Lessons are offered at the YMCA and the Fry Street Pool may also offer lessons later in the summer.

Children are not the only ones who need to be safe around water.

Alcohol is a common factor in water related injuries for adults.

"Most injuries in boating occur because they are intoxicated," Webb said. "A lot of aquatic injuries for adults involve alcohol because they don't know their limitations."

Other swimming safe factors include:

l No running on deck

l No diving into water less than 9 foot deep

l No horseplay

Sun safety is also important.

Applying sun screen of a minimum of SPF 15 about 15 to 30 minutes before getting into the sun and frequent application is a good way to guard against burns and sun damage later in life, Webb said.

Learning CPR doesn't hurt either.

The American Red Cross will be offering CPR classes all throughout the summer. The next on is June 4. Call 242-7404 to register.

CPSC also is reminding parents and caregivers to be aware of the hidden danger of drain entrapments. Since 1990, CPSC has reports of 130 people who became entrapped on pool and spa drains or whose hair became entangled in the drain cover, resulting in 27 deaths, according to the Poynter Institute.

Sgt. Bubba Harris, an EMT at the Valdosta Fire Department, said though he doesn't remember many serious swimming injuries last year, they do pick up during the summer time.

Dehydration cases and heat stroke is also more common during the hotter months.

Heat stroke is a medical emergency, according to the Georgia Institute of Technology Web site.

Harris recommended drinking Gatorade to keep from becoming dehydrated and getting in doors.

"Try to stay cool, find shade and take yourself out of the environment," Harris said.

Harris said those most susceptible to dehydration and heat stroke are those who are out in the heat a lot such as construction workers, roofers and football players.

"During this time of year they have football practice," Harris said. "You see (dehydration) quit a bit because they don't understand the importance of staying hydrated."

React to this story:


Recommended for you