News 19 Deep Dive: Summer Swimming Safety

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ALABAMA (WHNT) — Summer is just around the corner and the time to educate your child on water safety is now.

This comes just days after a new CDC report was released, revealing that drowning deaths are on the rise. The report says “unintentional drowning death rates were significantly higher” during 2020, 2021, and 2022 compared with 2019.

The CDC says the most frequent occurrence of drowning deaths were in children aged 1 to 4 years old.

Decatur Fire & Rescue (DFR) told News 19 that the closer we get to summer, the more water rescue calls they see.

“Typically this time of year, especially when the water parks and people start opening up their swimming pools it definitely becomes more prevalent,” DFR Lieutenant Brandon Sivley said.

Sivley said he recommends people who have pools in their backyard or who spend a lot of time near the water to learn CPR. He also said parents need to make sure they’re keeping their eyes on their children at all times when near or in the water.

“Please, please, please make sure if there’s a child or something anywhere near the water that you’re there supervising or somebody is there supervising that child, make sure you never take your eyes off of them when you’re around the water,” he said. “Just be prepared, know what to do in case of a water emergency, how to react, what to do and of course always call 911.”

The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance recognizes May as National Water Safety Month. They urge people who have pools to ensure they’re following all local and statewide safety requirements. They also recommend people keep covers on their pools when not in use, and have a fence surrounding all sides of your pool.

They also encourage families to teach their children to swim.

The swim safety experts at Goldfish Swim School in Madison urge you to enroll your child in swimming lessons at a young age.

“Water safety is essential, because it is, again, a lifesaving skill,” said Kylie Beckwith with Goldfish Swim School. “The earlier you start, the better.”

She told News 19 that now is a great time to start. “Being safe in the water, especially as we head into summer and things are heating up is vital for kids.”

Beckwith recommends parents equip their children with a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket when they are in/near the water if they aren’t strong swimmers.

Beckwith also said what you dress your child in can be crucial in an emergency.

“We also recommend that kids wear brighter colored swimsuits so that if they do fall in the pool, trying to stay away from those blue hues so that you can identify them quicker,” she said.

Goldfish Swim School of Madison is hosting a free Water Safety Day celebration on Saturday. It’s from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Families are encouraged to come out and learn more about swimming safety.

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