Child water safety

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Selma-Times Journal

The recent drowning death of a nine-year-old Burnsville boy has revived the importance of child water safety.

In a previous report, Roy Freine of the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department said the boy did have adult supervision while throwing a ball with friends in a neighbor’s pool.

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Playmates noticed the boy was not above the water and he was later found at the bottom of the pool. Law enforcement officials suspect the boy may have been in the deep end of the pool when he drowned and was unable to resurface.

Said Freine, “It’s a sad, sad, sad thing.”

According to the

KidsHealth website (, drowning is the second leading cause of injury death among children 14 years and younger. Less than two minutes after a person’s head goes underwater, a drowning incident may occur – leaving a small window of time for someone to help.

KidsHealth emphasizes drowning not only happens in swimming pools, but lakes and ponds, beaches, water parks, bathtubs, sinks and fountains as well. The following tips are provided by KidsHealth to keep children safe in summer waters.

Swimming Pools

Always have an adult watch you when you are in the pool – even in your own backyard. Never go in the pool if there is no adult around.

Gates are around pools for a reason –

to keep kids away from the water when there isn’t a lifeguard or adult around to watch them. Never go through any pool gates when they are closed. Stay safe and stay out!

Always obey pool rules.

Swim with a buddy.

If you’re learning to swim, ask your mom or dad to make sure your flotation devices are Coast Guard approved.

Walk slowly in the pool area. Don’t run.

Swim at a depth that is safe for you. If you’re just learning to swim, stay in the shallow end.

Don’t push or jump on others. You could accidentally hurt someone or yourself.

Toys to help you float come in many shapes and sizes (an inner tube, air mattress, or beach ball, for example). Although they are fun and can help you while you learn to swim, what they can’t do is save a life. They’re toys that can lose air or float away.

Don’t chew gum or eat while you swim – you could choke.

Lakes and Ponds

Always swim with an adult. You can’t always see the bottom of the lake or pond, so you don’t always know the depth of the water.

Although the fish swimming around won’t hurt you, some ponds and lakes may hide jagged rocks, broken bottles or trash. Wear something to protect your feet. Also, watch out for weeds and grass, which can trap even a good swimmer.

If you’re going out on a boat, always wear a life jacket.


Always swim where a lifeguard can see you and in areas that are marked for swimmers to use.

Wear protective footwear if surfaces are rough or rocky.

Don’t swim out too far.

Never pretend to be drowning. The lifeguard may take you seriously.

Don’t swim close to piers – those big, wooden structures that jut out into the water. If the water moves suddenly, you could hit a piling or a rock.

Face the waves, instead of turning your back on them.

Water Parks

Wear a life jacket if you don’t know how to swim or if you’re not a strong swimmer.

Read all of the signs before going on a ride. Make sure you are tall enough, old enough, and don’t have any of the medical conditions that are listed. If you have questions, check with a parent or ask the lifeguard.

Always make sure there’s a lifeguard at each ride and listen to his or her instructions. Wait until the rider ahead of you has passed a safe point for you to go down the slide.

Always go down the water slide face up and feet first. This is the safe and correct way to ride.

When you go from ride to ride, don’t run – it’s slippery! Also, remember that each ride is different. Read each sign and note how deep the water is in the pool.