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Maintaining a Safe Environment at the Swimming Pool

Silver Cross Offers Safety Tips for Enjoying the Pool this Summer

New Lenox, IL (July 10, 2013)—Every year, millions of people enjoy warm, summer weather by swimming in pools and relaxing in hot tubs.  With swimming becoming a more common activity in the summer, it is even more important to know and understand pool safety during this time.  Even though children represent the majority of pool-related injuries and fatalities, it is equally important for adults to learn pool safety tips.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), children younger than age 5 represent more than 75 percent of all pool and spa submersion deaths and 78 percent of pool and spa submersion injuries in the United States involving children younger than 15 years of age.  “Children are obviously the largest risk of injury or death when it comes to swimming in pools,” explains Dr. Kimberly Mitchell, emergency medicine physician at the Silver Cross Emergency Care Center of Homer Glen.  “It is important to realize that children need to be educated on pool safety and that adults should never leave children unsupervised while swimming in the pool.” 

Here are some guidelines offered by the American Red Cross to making pool safety a priority this summer! 

  • Completely surround your pool with a 4-feet high fence or barrier with a self-closing, self-latching gate.
  • Place a safety cover on the pool or hot tub when not in use.
  • Remove any ladders or steps used for access when not using the pool or hot tub.
  • Keep children under active supervision at all times.  Never allow anyone to swim alone!
  • Have young or inexperienced swimmers wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • Keep your pool or hot tub water clean and clear.
  • Regularly test and adjust the chemical levels to minimize the risk of earaches, rashes or more serious diseases.
  • Establish and enforce rules and safe behaviors, such as “no diving,” “stay away from drain covers,” “swim with a buddy” and “walk please.” 

Entrapment Risks

In addition to the risk of drowning, it is also important to learn about drain entrapments and how to prevent them.  A drain entrapment occurs when a body is held against a pool or spa drain by the force of the pool’s suction or when an article of clothing, jewelry, hair or a limb is caught in a faulty drain.  Drain entrapment injuries and fatalities are much more common in young children.  By recognizing drain entrapment hazards, you will have a better chance at preventing an accident before it happens.  The following are frequent entrapment hazards:

  • Body – A body part, often the torso or bottom, covers a drain and is held down by the intensity of the suction.
  • Hair – Long hair is caught in a faulty drain cover.
  • Limb – Arms, legs, feet or fingers are lodged in a suction opening.
  • Mechanical – Jewelry, bathing suits or other materials are entangled in a drain cover.  

Knowing and understanding the preceding hazards is your best defense against potential entrapment or entanglement injuries.  Make sure everyone in your family knows where potential entrapment hazards are located within your pool or hot tub, as well as where the drains are located.  As Dr. Mitchell asserts, “Combining safety tips in regards to submersion injuries with a better knowledge of entrapment hazards will ensure you have a safe and healthy pool experience this summer.” 

Emergency Care Nearby

Even while practicing pool safety measures, accidents and injuries can still occur.  It is good to know peace of mind is just minutes away at the Silver Cross Emergency Care Center located at 143rd and Bell Rd. in Homer Glen.  Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the Center is staffed with Silver Cross Hospital’s board certified emergency medicine physicians and nurses. For more information, call (708) 364-6004. 

Located in the same building is the Silver Cross Health Center offering MRI, CT, X-ray, Ultrasound, EKG and laboratory services. A physician’s order is required. To schedule an appointment for a test, call (815) 300-7076.  There are also several primary and specialty physician offices and The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross. For a referral to a physician at the Homer Glen medical center, call 1-888-660-HEAL or visit www.silvercross.org

About Silver Cross Hospital

Silver Cross Hospital is a not-for-profit health care provider serving Will County and southwest suburban communities since 1895. Silver Cross has been recognized as a Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals National Award winner for seven consecutive years and as a Hospital of Choice by the American Alliance of Healthcare Providers. With over 3,000 employees, physicians and volunteers, Silver Cross operates a 289-bed acute care hospital and 9 satellite facilities providing outpatient services and physician offices. Silver Cross opened a state-of-the-art replacement hospital on February 26, 2012 at I-355 and Route 6 in New Lenox. To learn more about Silver Cross Hospital or a referral to a physician on staff, visit www.silvercross.org or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).

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