Viewpoint: May 13, 2009

Summer is here and across Louisiana, pools are opening and young swimmers are hearing the call of our lakes, rivers, and bayous. Swimming season has barely begun and already, we have had a number of water-related deaths. This is tragic and it happens far too often. As a nation, each year we lose some 4,000 children to drowning. The risk is highest for children under the age of five and teens and young adults. Nearly one-fifth of all drownings involving children take place in public pools with certified lifeguards present.

What do these figures tell us? That we can never be too cautious when it comes to our children and swimming. If you are a parent of a young child, we hope that you are able to take advantage of local water safety and swim classes. If you have older children or if you are a young adult, keep in mind that a strong swimmer can still have trouble in the water. Swim with a friend, know your limits and know the area where you are swimming. If you have the opportunity, keep in mind that CPR training is always a great part of any safety plan. As always, if you are a home owner with a pool, please be a responsible pool owner and prevent access by unsupervised children. We wish everyone a fun summer, but please, stay safe.