Tips to protect your child from drowning

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - 7-year-old Dearana and her twin brother RJ Lemon are learning how to swim.

"It's important to know how to swim so you won't drown and die,"RJ Lemon said.

Dr. Benji Rodgers with Sweetgrass Pediatrics says swim lessons are the first layer of safety when it comes to the water. He says lessons are important for both the parent and the child and a child as young as 6 months old could take swim lessons.

"Just as much enjoyment we get out of it we need to multiply that times two and give the water that much more respect," Dr. Rodgers said.

Another layer of safety is knowing how to give CPR.

"Something could happen in front of you and being prepared is the key to those people surviving," Dr. Rodgers said.

Dr. Rodgers says it doesn't take much water for a child to drown and it only takes a second. He says for babies and young children or those that are not good swimmers, an adult should use touch supervision.

He advises adults to keep your hands on the child at all times and never let them go more than an arms length.

Dr. Rogers also says never have a false sense of security with a life vest or even your child being able to swim and adult supervision is key.

"At a birthday or pool party you need to designate one person to be a watcher they don't have a cell phone or are not texting and eating their hot dog," he says.

If a child is in distress and drowning, Cherie Bennett with the Summerville YMCA says if you don't know how to swim or if it's not shallow water both people could drown.

Bennett says instead, if the child is at an age where they can follow directions use a cooler a floating noodle or safety vest as a flotation device to pull the person to safety.

"Urge the person that is drowning to grab on to the device and talk them to tell them how to get to the side of the pool," Bennett said.

"There have been so many drownings I just feel its so important for every child to know how to swim," said parent Randy Lemon.

"The more you educate the better you can prevent drownings," Bennett said.

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