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Sheriff's Water Safety

Friday, June 4, 2004

It's the time of year when thoughts naturally turn to outdoor summer-fun activities, and swimming tops the list. Sheriff Mike W. Neustrom joins the National Safety Council and encourages adults to establish and adhere to strict water safety rules for their children, and themselves:

· Never leave a child alone near water---at the pool, the beach or in the tub. A tragedy can occur in seconds. If you must leave, take you child with you.
· Always use approved personal flotation devices (life jackets.) The U.S. Coast Guard estimates nearly 9 of 10 drowning victims were not wearing one.
· Beware of neighborhood pools. Remove toys from in and around the pool when not in use. Toys can attract children to the pool.
· For pools, barriers can offer added protection against drowning. Power or manual covers will completely cover a pool and block access to the water; however, be sure to drain any standing water from the surface of the pool cover as a child can drown in very small amounts of water.
· Enroll children over age three in swimming lessons taught by qualified instructors. But keep in mind that lessons don't make your child “drown-proof."
· Older children risk drowning when they overestimate their swimming ability or underestimate the water depth.
· Teach your children these key swimming rules: Always swim with a buddy. Don't dive into unknown bodies of water; jump feet first to avoid hitting your head. Don't push or jump on others.
· Never consume alcohol when operating a boat, or swimming.
· Always have a first-aid kit available, and parents should be trained in CPR.

Sending your children the right message about water safety is one of the most important points you have to get across. The more our children know, the better prepared they will be.

Lt. Craig Stansbury
Public Information Officer
Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office