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A Primer in Pool Mythology

June 15, 1997|DAN GORDON

When it comes to pool safety involving young children, experts say, a number of myths have been perpetuated.

Myth: Most drownings occur when a child is playing in or near a pool.

Fact: In most cases, the child was last seen in the house doing something safe, such as sleeping, playing or watching TV.

Myth: A drowning child can be heard.

Fact: Particularly when it involves a child under 5--the age when the risk is greatest--drowning tends to be silent and quick, with the child losing consciousness in 20 seconds or less.

Myth: The most important drowning prevention measure is constant supervision.

Fact: While supervision is important, no one can maintain visual contact with a child 24 hours a day. Drowning prevention experts believe "layers of protection" in the form of fences, pool covers, door alarms and other devices and precautionary measures are most effective.

Myth: Swimming lessons can "drown-proof" young children.

Fact: While this may be true of some children--particularly those older than 5--most younger children will swim only upon the command of an adult. It is unrealistic to think that they will remember how to swim when they slip underwater, alone.

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