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Parents look for ways to keep their kids safe in the water as summer approaches

A little girl swims on a pool at the YMCA in Ocean Springs.
A little girl swims on a pool at the YMCA in Ocean Springs.(WLOX)
Published: May. 23, 2022 at 10:20 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) -Staff at the YMCA in Ocean Springs help parents keep their children safe in the water as summer approaches.

The fitness center offers a variety of swimming classes for children and adults. Aquatics Coordinator, Gabriela Laboy said even infants as young as 6-month-old can learn how to swim.

“Our parents and child are six months to three years old. That is where we get the child comfortable in the water,” she said.

With summer around the corner, it is almost impossible for children to stay out of the water. However, Laboy said it is important for parents to teach their kids safety precautions.

“It is extremely important considering we are surrounded by water. Having them learn the basics, the safety aspect of it is extremely important,” Laboy said.

In less than two months, three fatal drowning incidents including children and teenagers were reported on the coast. Most recently, a family vacation ended in tragedy after a two-year-old accidentally drowned at Margaritaville.

Nesha Carriere’s 13-year-old son learned how to swim at the YMCA. He recently joined the swim team.

“If he sees anybody in trouble, he will know not to try to grab them where they can pull him under or to know to throw a raft or a long object. To hold on to the end of the pool and stick his leg out. He will know the proper way to help somebody and take somebody out without endangering himself,” Carriere said.

Head Lifeguard of the facility, Ashton Reeves said acting fast when witnessing someone drowning can be the difference between life or death.

“You have about a minute and thirty seconds to yell and ask somebody to get the backboard,” Reeves said.

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