In the past week alone, two Mississippi children drowned: one in a neighbor's swimming pool in Clarksdale, another after falling into a shallow river near Hattiesburg. Lifeguards say senseless tragedies like these could be avoided, and that education is the key to saving lives.
Splashing around on a hot summer day is often a child's favorite pastime. Every parent knows not to leave their child alone in water, but one moment of carelessness can change your life forever.
Winston Sullivan is the director of health and fitness at the Ocean Springs YMCA.
He said, "It may be something as simple as a phone call mom jumps up or somebody jumps up to go answer the phone, they are on it for just a second, maybe the child was swimming, maybe on the edge of the pool, but when they come back unfortunately, they're at the bottom of the pool."
While on duty lifeguard Delara Venus doesn't take her eyes off swimmers for a second, she knows how quickly tragedy can strike in the water.
"Well, it just really happens in just a wink of an eye. One minute I'll turn around the next I'll turn back around and someone is going under water," she said.
Remember to never swim alone, and always supervise children near the water. Alcohol and water never mix. Also, remember toys like floaties are not life saving devices.
They agree that professional swimming lessons are the best way to ensure your family's safety in the water. The YMCA is offering two upcoming swimming courses.