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Playing it safe this summer

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opinion Fargo, 58102
Fargo North Dakota 101 5th Street North 58102

Is it really summer?

Although yesterday was the date officially proclaiming it so, there is still pause to wonder given the uncertainty of the weather on a day-to-day basis.

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However, the weekend in advance of the season onset was extremely summer like with almost two perfect days of gorgeous temperatures Saturday and Sunday.

One of the tip offs was the abundance of kids outside having fun splashing in the water in their front and backyard pools.

This was great to see and a reminder that Summer fun should be all that it can possibly be and not interrupted by anything that could result in an unintended tragedy.

All the more reason for extra caution and concern when young children and water are paired in combination.

Duly noted by the startling statistics from a recent study published Monday in the Pediatrics journal - among the most graphically notable -a child dies every five days in a portable swimming pool during warm summer months.

The study, which focused on portable pools, from small wading ones less than 18 inches deep, and other soft sided pools reaching depths of four feet, was conducted by researchers at the Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and Independent Safety Consulting in Rockville, Md.

The research showed 209 deaths and 35 near drownings of children age 12 and younger, during the years 2001 to 2009. Most of the children - 94 percent - were under five years of age, and 81 percent of the accidents happened during the summer months.

The results also showed that children were supervised by adults in fewer than half - 43 percent - of the drownings and near drownings, and that most adults - 73 percent - were at home at the time.

The study went onto confirm that overall, drownings represent the second-leading cause of injury deaths among young children. This directly attributable to the fact that drownings are different from other childhood accidents because there are no second chances. If you are on the playground and you fall, you generally get another chance; but underwater submersion is a very quick process and once a child's heart and breathing stops, revival becomes very difficult and more times that not, there are no second chances.

Consequently, the bottom line becomes ­- even though swimming pools are intended to be recreational fun, proper safeguards need to be in place at all times to insure that our little ones are safe.

First and foremost, constant, undistracted adult supervision is at the top of the list of preventative measures.

This human element then needs to be supplemented by other accenting safeguards to protect the children, (i.e. barriers in the form of fences, gates, or removable ladders that block unsupervised pool access), wearing life jackets while swimming, or other alarms and related devices in place to eliminate any other potential drowning threat.

Ironically, the column adjacent today touches on the swimming pool topic and protection elements that need to be in place to ensure safety for those plentiful backyard pools located in our own community.

Your young child's safety may unwittingly be at stake. Please read and heed.

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