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Avoiding fatal pool accidents and swimming injuries this summer

Summer is in full swing across Louisiana. The sun is high in the sky, the temperatures are hot, hot, hot and people are clamoring for a way to cool off. Pools, lakes, rivers, water parks and beaches across the state are full of tourists and residents alike ready to take a dip. As the waters get busy, though, it is important for everyone young and old to remember that, even when having a good time, safety must come first to avoid swimming accidents that could take lives or cause serious injuries.

First things first, it is of vital importance that children or anyone who doesn't have strong swimming skills be adequately supervised by an adult who swims and is trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). This will hopefully prevent swimming pool accidents, but, should the worst occur, give the victims their best chance for a successful recovery. In addition, more than half the drowning deaths in people over the age of 15 involve alcohol, and the majority of them are in a natural setting (like a lake, river, pond or along the Gulf).

Aside from the obvious dangers posed by bodies of water themselves (i.e, drowning), there are additional hazards associated with taking a dip. Did you know that the chemicals used to treat pool water can be as dangerous – or more so – than the risk of drowning? The Centers for Disease Control reports that there are more than 10,000 incidents of chlorine exposure annually, with just under half of them involving children under the age of six. Another 4,000 people suffer respiratory symptoms and eye irritation due to the improper use, storage or mixing of pool chemicals.

This isn't meant to rain on your proverbial parade; just remember that taking proper precautions, supervising little ones, not overdoing it with the alcohol and staying aware of hazards can all ensure that your summertime fun in the sun doesn't end in tragedy.

Source: Good Housekeeping, “Fact or Fiction: 6 Surprising Truths About Swimming Safety,” Dan Shapley, Accessed June 18, 2014.

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