This is the first full week of operation for most local swimming pools. As the summer season kicks off, swimmers and parents are warned to take extra precautions to save lives. WJBF News Channel Six's Dee Griffin has a look at swimming safety.
An average of 35-hundred people drown every year in the United States. Nearly 80 percent who die from drowning are male. A high number of them are children. As the temperatures soar, so will the number of people jumping into water and danger.
Walter Glenn spends several days a week in the pool with his daughters. He says, "quality time with my daughters, build a relationship with them, show how much I care. When they're in the pool, if I don't let them drown then they trust me. So, it builds a trust relationship."
He's building a relationship while also breaking down the likelihood that his children will drown or get hurt in the water.
According to researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital a child is hurt every six minutes while swimming.
Wilson Family Y Aquatics Director Chris Pinto explains, "water can be extremely fun. But at the same time there is some danger behind it if you're not familiar with the water environment." Pinto says families can get a jump on safety by putting children in swim classes. "You can never drown proof somebody. Even an Olympic swimmer can get a cramp and they need rescuing as well. So what swim lessons do is they give the knowledge about how to save themselves. Get to the side of the pool if they get a cramp or get injured."
In the wake of research revealing that African Americans are three times more likely to drown than other races, the Family Y has set up a program for local inner city children to learn water safety. "Every single second grade student in Richmond County come through and do a week long water safety seminar with them called SPLASH which is swim, play, learn, aquatics safety habits," Pinto says.
Habits that Walter Glenn have taught his children sooner to avoid danger later. "It's very important, if you don't know how to swim and you get out there the lifeguard can't get there in time especially a little kid. It's like a teaspoon of water you can drown," explains Glenn.
Chris Pinto also says parents should always keep an eye on children in water whether it's the pool, beach or lake. Be sure to get them out if you're on the phone or cooking. The same applies for children in bath tubs. It doesn't take much water to drown.
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