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How can you prevent near-drowning dangers?

Near-drowning episodes are a significant danger to children aged 1 to 4. Each summer, over 5,000 are seen in the nation's emergency rooms for related injuries.

Even though a child may initially survive a near-drowning, there can be unexpected complications:

-- Infections of the central nervous system can show up as late as three weeks after a near-drowning once the bacteria or organisms in the water travel to a victim's brain. The results of infection can range from vomiting and seizures to death. For example, 74 percent of those infected with a common fungus will survive the near-drowning only to die several weeks later when the infection hits their brain.

-- Cerebral ischemia, which is caused by a lack of blood flow to the brain, can result in seizures, swelling on the brain, coma and death.

-- Hypoxia, which occurs when the brain's oxygen supply is cut off, can result in severe memory impairments, difficulty learning new things, impaired judgment and problems with motor coordination. In severe cases, coma and death can also ensue.

Because of the dangers of drowning and near-drowning, it's important to keep a watchful eye on your children any time they're near a pool or body of water. Experts offer a range of tips to help parents and caregivers keep children safer:

-- Never allow children to swim alone. Always insist on an adult's presence, even if the kids are swimming in a neighbor's pool.

-- Make sure that someone is giving the kids their undivided attention. A child can drown in the time that it takes a bored caretaker to glance through Facebook. Make sure that the supervising adult's attention is on the kids and not something else.

-- Insist on life jackets if the children are on boats. Make sure that the jackets are the appropriate size and model for the age of the child -- and adult life jacket won't save a child from drowning.

-- Make sure children know to stay away from the drains or suction outlets in pools and hot tubs. The force can easily pull a child underwater.

-- Erect gates and barriers to your own pool, if you have one. Make it clear to neighborhood kids they aren't welcome unless you are there.

If your child has suffered a traumatic brain injury due to someone else's negligence, contact an attorney to discuss the possibility of a case.

Source:, "Tips for keeping kids safe around the pool this summer," Chris Price, May 27, 2017

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