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Take a Dip into Pool Safety

Take the sun savvy quiz below.

Each year throughout Los Angeles County an average of 120 people lose their lives in drowning accidents; nearly all of these victims are children.

Drowning is a leading cause of death for children between the ages of 1 and 5. Most of these tragic accidents occurred in backyard pools and spas. Infant drowning's (under age 1) occur in bathtubs, toilets and buckets. A child can drown in just a few inches of water in the time it takes to answer a phone. You can protect yourself and your family from such accidents by following these guidelines.

Water Safety

  • Adult supervision required at all times! When it comes to keeping kids safe around water, the most important factor is supervision. Adults should have eye-to-eye contact with kids at all times.
  • Enclose your pool with a fence, wall or other barrier at least four feet tall on all four sides. Install self-latching gates that open outward. Mesh fences are recommended because they are more difficult to climb. California’s Swimming Pool Safety Act (Health and Safety Code Sections 115920-115929) requires at least one approved safety barrier be in place for all pools and spas built after January 1, 1998, and for any pools being remodeled.
  • Keep furniture away from pool fences. Children have used them to scale fences and gain access to the pool.
  • Install a door alarm and raise the height of door handles leading to the pool so they cannot be reached easily by small children.
  • Have a portable phone near the pool and program emergency numbers on speed dial. Many drownings occur when a child is unattended while the supervising adult is answering the phone.
  • Keep the water level in your pool as high as possible to make climbing out easier.
  • Ensure your pool has multiple drains and anti-entrapment drain covers to prevent the suction from drawing the body or hair into the drain. Safety vacuum release systems (SVRS) are an additional protective device.
  • Don't assume your child can swim; 25 percent of U.S. children who drown have taken swimming lessons. Many youngsters forget how to swim when panicked.
  • Keep the pool's deck area clear of tripping hazards.
  • Enroll your children in swimming lessons. Teach older children that they risk drowning when they overestimate their swimming ability or underestimate water depth.
  • Parents, guardians and babysitters should all learn CPR.
  • Have lifesaving equipment ready to use in case of an emergency such as a vest, life preserver, rope or net device on a long pole.
  • Regularly maintain gate latches and springs, greasing them often.
  • Lock pet doors.
  • Don't dive into less than nine feet deep or unknown bodies of water, such as lakes, rivers, quarries or irrigation ditches. Jump feet first to avoid hitting your head (and breaking your neck or back) on a shallow bottom, hidden rock or other obstruction.

Ocean swimming
If you do find yourself caught in a current, don't panic and don't fight the current. Swim with the current, gradually trying to make your way back to shore as you do so.

Summertime = Beach Time = Sun Time

Before you head out, you'll want to pick up some sunscreen. However, should you buy SPF 15? SPF 30? How about 50? Test your sun savviness with this quiz.


1) Q: Which SPF should I use?
A: SPF stands for "sun protection factor" and refers to the sunscreen's ability to protect against the sun's UVB rays. Use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, which means you can stay in the sun 30 times as long as without the sunscreen and get the same level of sunburn.

2) Q: What is the effectiveness of sunscreens over SPF 35?
A: Sunscreens above 35 only have slightly more UVB blocking power than a lower rating. However, studies have shown them to have better protection because most people under-apply it.

3) Q: What are UVB and UVA rays? UVB rays cause a much greater risk of skin cancer than UV.
A. However, UVA rays cause aging, wrinkling, and loss of elasticity. UVA also increases the damaging effects of UVB, including skin cancer and cataracts. More about sun safety.

4) Q: How much sunscreen should I use?
A: An adult should use enough sunscreen to fill a shot glass to cover arms, legs, neck and face. Don't forget easily burned areas such as ears, tops of feet and scalp. When using spray sunscreen, apply until the skin doesn't readily absorb any more. Apply 30 minutes before going in the sun and every two hours thereafter. Always use SPF 30 or above. Make sure your sunscreen is not expired, but if the bottle has not been opened, it’s still OK to use. 

5) Q: Is mineral sunscreen better or is it a fad?
A: SPF sunscreens only protect against UVB rays. Mineral sunscreens block both UVB and UVA rays. There is the concern that the chemicals in traditional sunscreen can be absorbed by the skin. Those looking for an alternative to chemical sunscreens have been turning to zinc oxide and titanium dioxide mineral sunscreen lotions, which sit on top of the skin and are considered physical blockers. Mineral sunscreen can leave a slight white layer over skin, however, newer formulations are hardly noticeable even on darker skin.

6) Q: When should I wear sunscreen?
A: Everyday! We all get more sun than we realize on a daily basis. Recently the first study ever showed that applying sunscreen daily reduces skin cancer.

7) Q: At what age should children start wearing sunscreen?
A: For babies older than 6 months, you can use the standard infant sunblock. Be sure to apply it 30 minutes prior to sun exposure.

8) Q: Am I at risk for skin cancer?
A: Prolonged exposure to the sun can cause skin cancer. If found early, skin cancer has the best chance of responding to treatment. It's important to check your own skin, preferably once a month and have a once-a-year full body evaluation by a dermatologist.

You should know the pattern of moles, blemishes, freckles, and other marks on your skin so that you'll notice any new moles or changes in moles already present.

Remember, sun safety is never out of season. Be safe in the sun!

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