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The summer season is a time for fun, but not for carelessness!

Summer is a great time to relax - except when it comes to water safety. Drowning is a leading cause of death for kids under the age of 5 and most drownings occur in a swimming pool. Experts estimate that adults can drown in less than two minutes and a child in less than 20 seconds. A child can drown in less than four centimeters of water - enough to cover the mouth and nose.

Parents should be vigilant supervisors while their children swim and should follow these basic guidelines of pool safety:


The key to pool safety is constant supervision. Never leave a child unattended near water. Because it only takes a second for a small child to fall into a pool and slip underwater, adult supervision is always necessary during pool usage. When infants or toddlers are playing near a pool, an adult should be no more than an arm's length away. Even when a lifeguard is present, parents need to be attuned to what their children are doing in the water.


Make an emergency plan. Always keep basic lifesaving equipment (such as a shepherd's hook or life preserver) and a telephone near the pool. If a child is missing from the pool area, check the pool first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability. Make sure to go to the edge of the pool and scan the entire body of water, bottom and surface.


Families with backyard pools should know lifesaving CPR and must insist that babysitters, grandparents and anyone else who cares for their children also learn it.


The best tool to stay safe in any kind of water is to learn to swim. Kids can start learning to swim at age 18 months to 2 years. Remember, however, that teaching your child how to swim does not mean your child is safe in the water. Even if kids know how to swim, they can panic. They should be taught how to float on their back and call for help if they get in trouble.


Because toys can attract children, it is safest to keep them out of sight when the pool is not being used so children aren't tempted to reach for them.