Swimming Safety Tips

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Nineteen-year-old Bradley Whiteside drowned while he was trying to save a child who was caught in a 15-foot deep whirlpool in the Pea River. Officials say it made the eighth drowning for the tri-states so far this summer.

It is important to know the waters that you swim in. Drowning can be prevented and a few safety tips will help you or your child from becoming victims

It may sound like fun and games, but children and water can be a deadly combination.
All it takes is one mistake.

“It's always unexpected when a kid is going to drown out here,” said Beau Park, a lifeguard at Westgate Park’s Waterworld.

“We never had any drownings, but there are kids who wonder out too deep.”

With two water slides and a wave pool at Waterworld the dangers are increased.

On any given day there will be 16 guards in the recreation park's wave pool alone, but the drowning statistics are alarming.

The Centers for Disease Control reports that there are one thousand deaths a year from drowning and most of those occur in swimming pools.

"We suggest not going in places that don't have a lifeguard present,” said Waterworld’s Assistant Manager, Robert Talliaferro.

“Regardless, there are those who prefer swimming in murky rivers or creeks unsupervised and unflagged. Swimmers here are at higher risks,” he said.

Houston County's Dive and Rescue Team recovers about 10 bodies a year.

“If you have a probe or a long stick or a long limb off of a tree before you go in the water, that you don't know where there's all kinds of roots and stuff like that probe along until you find a large hole,” said Frankie Ingram of the Houston County Dive and Rescue Team.

“If you find a large hole, be careful because there are all kinds of snakes and things. And always, always wear a lifejacket.

Exhaustion, or heat cramps can cause the best of swimmers to drown,” he said.
It is suggested that a person never swims alone.

The Centers for Disease Control reports about 20-percent of children rescued from drowning will suffer from brain damage due to a lack of oxygen,