June 14, 2005 |

County offers tips to keep home swimming pools safe

The Allegheny County Health Department urges the following precautions to keep swimming pools safe and help prevent pool-related injuries and infections this summer.

•  Never leave children unattended in or around a pool.  A fence or barrier at least four feet high should surround a permanent backyard pool, without using the house as a barrier on any side.  Gates should be self-closing and self-latching, with the latch out of a young child's reach.

•  Never allow anyone, especially children, to swim without a “spotter” who can maintain constant eye contact.  Keep a safety buoy at poolside and a first aid kit available.

•  Drain and clean backyard kiddie pools after each use to minimize the risk of infection.

•  Keep sick kids out of a pool, even when it's filtered and chlorinated, especially a toddler still in diapers or one who is not yet toilet trained. Adults should also stay out when sick.

•  Don't rely on water wings or other toy flotation devices as life preservers for children.

•  Keep tricycles and other riding toys out of the pool area.

•  Don't allow running on the deck, pushing into the pool or dunking.

•  Never slide headfirst or dive into an above-ground pool. 

•  Don't dive from a pool deck unless the water is at least five feet deep.

•  Stay out of the pool and off wet ground when thunder or lightning approaches.

•  Pools don't mix with alcohol or drugs.  Be cautious with anyone under the influence.

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