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You may have read the sad story last week, of the two toddlers who left their house, wandered down to a nearby pool, and drowned while their babysitter slept. The purpose of this blog is not to speculate on blame in that tragedy. It reminds us that summer season is here and with it, comes too many drowning deaths that could have been prevented. As was illustrated by the death of the two little girls, children can’t be left unwatched for even a moment if there is a body of water nearby. Pools, lakes and ponds are attractive to children, who often have no sense of the danger they present. Drownings, especially of small children, can happen in an instant.

Pools must be maintained to be as safe as possible. Water should be kept clear so that no one can slip beneath the surface unnoticed. Pools need to be clear of any device or condition that can trap someone under water. They should not be open and accessible to a child wandering into the yard. Pools are often designed with a sharp dropoff from shallow to deep, a hazard for any pool user who can’t swim. Diving board injuries can occur if the diver becomes unconscious or unable to swim, after hitting the water. Life preserving equipment, such as long poles and buoys, should be at every poolside. Commercial enterprises, such as hotels and motels, have an especially high obligation to heed basic safety precautions. Pools provide great fun for millions of Americans. There will inevitably be some drownings. Basic safety precautions can minimize their number.

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