August 2009 MedBytes: Water Safety

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Tex Med . 2009;105(8):64.

This summer, children are heading to the pools for some fun in the sun. Because drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional death for children and adolescents, physicians need to educate parents and young swimmers about water safety. These Web sites have some valuable information you can share with concerned patients.

American Academy of Pediatrics
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has policy papers on personal watercraft use by children and adolescents; prevention of drowning in infants, children, and adolescents; and swimming programs for infants and toddlers on its Web site, www.aap.org/healthtopics/watersafety.cfm . They contain useful background information and recommendations pediatricians and other primary care physicians can use to stay up to date on water safety. The Web site also features results from a national survey of childhood drowning with informative statistics, information about parents' and children's attitudes and behaviors toward water safety, and educational information you can share with your patients. Additional educational patient resources encompass a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fact sheet, home water hazards for young children, information about life jackets and life preservers, pool safety for children, water safety for school-age children, and ways to keep children safe around swimming pools.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Healthy Swimming Web site of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), www.cdc.gov/healthyswimming , takes a comprehensive look at outbreaks associated with swimming pools, water parks, hot tubs, lakes, rivers, and oceans. Click on the  Health Professionals  link to be directed to resources on talking to parents about recreational water illnesses (RWIs), prevention of RWIs, and therapy pool operation in health care facilities. The Web site also has an  RWI Health Promotion Toolkit for Public Health Professionals , model aquatic health code, prevention commentaries, outbreak response toolkits, disinfection and remediation guidelines, and more. Additional health promotion materials covering water safety include brochures, fact sheets, and posters you can print off the Web site, as well as podcasts and videos.

National Institutes of Health
MedlinePlus from the National Institutes of Health, www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/watersafetyrecreational.html , has an abundance of online resources covering topics from boating safety to hot tub rash. The  Specific Conditions  portion of the site will link you to pool and spa safety publications, safety tips for water-skiing and scuba diving, and information on water safety and children's swimming lessons from the American Medical Association.  Related Issues  cover certain water-borne illnesses, preparations for water emergencies, and environmental water concerns. The  Journal Articles  section will open a window to a plethora of in-depth articles on water safety.

Safe Kids USA
An excellent resource to share with parents and their children, the Safe Kids USA Web site,  www.usa.safekids.org/water , covers safety in pools and hot tubs, on the beach, in the bathtub, and when boating. Downloads on the site include a national study on drain entrapment and pool safety measures, boating and swimming safety checklists, educational coloring sheets for children, information about children's life vests, water watcher cards, and pool and hot tub safety checklists. The Web site also features water safety videos and firsthand accounts of water emergencies.

MedBytes is a quick look at new, or newly discovered, Web sites of interest to Texas physicians. The column also highlights features of the TMA Web site. If you know of some interesting medical sites or have questions about how to use the TMA Web site, e-mail  Crystal Conde . Publication of information about Web sites in this column is not to be considered an endorsement or approval by the Texas Medical Association of the sites or sponsors, or of any products or services involved.

 

 

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