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If you are a parent, it should be your top priority to keep your children safe and free from injury. This takes some work, however, as children constantly face potentially risky situations and do not have as high of an awareness of possible danger as adults do. For this reason, all parents should teach their children about safety in certain situations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that water-related injuries are among the leading causes of unintentional injury in the United States. While many people immediately think about drowning as a potential consequence of water-related injury, in reality near-drowning events can also result in serious injury and can affect victims for years. If the brain goes without oxygen, even for a short period of time, serious cognitive issues can result. Additionally, water-based injuries also can result in broken bones, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), spinal cord injuries, and neurological injuries as well.

Fortunately, there are certain steps that individuals can take to reduce the risk of their children being involved in a near drowning injury. These can include the following:

Supervise young children – One of the most effective ways to reduce the risk that your child is involved in a water-related accidents is to practice consistent supervision. Supervising adults should avoid other distractions such as engaging in water-based activities or talking on the phone. Adults who are supervising children around water should also refrain from drinking alcohol. In addition, it is a good idea to teach older children to supervise their younger companions.

Invest in swimming lessons early - Children who know how to swim are inherently safer in and around water than children who are non-swimmers. Many municipalities and community organizations offer beginning swimming lessons for young children. The earlier your child knows how to swim, the earlier he or she will be at a reduced risk of water-based injury.

Use appropriate safety equipment – Safety equipment such as floatation devices and life jackets can make swimming and other recreational activities significantly safer. Make sure that the safety equipment is appropriate to your child’s age and swimming level.

Teach children to respect the water and water-related facilities –Children should learn that water can be dangerous from an early age. Teach children to not use swimming facilities unattended and other common-sense behaviors such as not running on a pool deck.

Learn CPR - CPR can save lives. Anyone who regularly supervises children in and around water should learn CPR and maintain their skills.

Secure access to residential pools - Making sure that children do not swim unattended often means making sure that your residential pool is secured. Make sure your pool is fenced in and that the gates to the pool are secured at all times when there is not an adult present.

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