Editorial

Swimming season

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It's a rite of summer every bit as much as baseball and barbecue. Swimming.

Whether it's a backyard swimming pool or a swimming hole in a rural creek, the water lures adults and children alike this time of year. We beg families to be safe this swimming season.

We encourage parents to enroll their children in swimming lessons at a young age, and we want to remind everyone to be safe around pools.

A government website on pool safety reports that drowning deaths for children under the age of 15 averaged 385 annually between 2005 and 2007. Unfortunately, we've had our heartbreaking deaths of children in Southeast Missouri as well in the last few years.

Many pool safety tips can be found at poolsafety.gov. Among those include:

* Never leave children unattended

* Keep children away from drains, pipes and other openings

* Have a phone nearby at all times

* If a child is missing, check the pool first

* Know how to perform CPR

* Install a fence (at least 4 feet tall) around the pool perimeter

* Use self-closing and self-latching gates.

* Install door alarms from the house to the pool area

* Have life rings or reaching poles available for use

Also be aware that drowning often happens in a silent manner. If a person is just under the surface and is struggling, he or she may not be able to splash or cry for help. Sometimes people believe drowning victims are treading water, when actually they're struggling for air. Children splash and make noise while in the water. Be listening for silence.

We hope those with pools enjoy their time this summer. Be safe out there.

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