Memorial Day Weekend: Swimming safety should be top priority for families
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Swim instructors are encouraging parents to aware of their surroundings around the water, and not forget to take safety precautions.
“I wish I would have held on longer,” said Clint Walker.
Walker says he tried to pull his son, Tyreke, to safety as he was being swept away in a strong current in the gulf.
Orange Beach Fire Rescue says the father and son were in the water when rough waves roped them in.
“What’s going on, why are you this far? He was like, ‘I am sorry, I can’t come back.’ I grabbed him, I had him but the water just pulling and pulling us. Honestly, I didn’t think I was going to make it. Then I lost his grip of him, and I kept getting thrown to the bottom of the water. Somehow, I made it to shore, but he didn’t,” explained Walker.
Double red flags were out that day.
Swim instructors like Taylor Alexander say these types of things happen too often.
“Always, always pay attention to the flags at the beaches. When you see the red flag that means there is potential for a rip current, and even the strongest of adults can be in danger with a rip current,” said Alexander.
Alexander has been teaching swim lessons for the past 22 years. She says it’s important for parents and their children to take certain safety measures, whether going to a beach or a backyard pool. The most important one is to make sure an adult is always watching the water and not rely solely on the lifeguard.
“Most drownings, especially in Louisiana, happen when multiple adults are around a body of water. They all think well they must be watching, well they must be watching and in fact, no one is watching the water,” said Alexander.
She also encourages parents to get their children in swim lessons as soon as possible, that way they not only know how to handle the water but also what to do in case there is an emergency.
“The most important thing is to get your children swim lessons. Children that are enrolled in formal swim lessons by the time they are two reduces their risk of having a water-related accident by 86%. That is pretty huge,” added Alexander.
Alexander also suggests making sure parents put their child in a floatation device that is US Coast Guard approved.
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