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June 02, 2014 05:01 PM

Swimming Safety

In light of two recent tragic events, emergency rescue officials are reminding families to play it safe this summer anytime you're around water. The first safety tip takes place before you even venture out.

As two communities mourn the loss of two young children, emergency responders say water safety begins long before visiting a lake or river.

"Just like every other place, have a plan.  Know what you're doing.  Have you been there before?  Look at the hazards," Minnehaha County Emergency Manager Lynn DeYoung said.

DeYoung says this time of year, those hazards on certain lakes and streams can be dangerous.

"It's very easy, especially in lakes and rivers, to get caught up on debris such as fences, tree branches and any other kind of metal.  It's easy to get hung up on those types of things," DeYoung said.  

DeYoung says parents should know their children's abilities. Have they had swimming lessons?  DeYoung suggests if people frequent a lake or river this summer, especially with small children who may not be strong swimmers, make sure they wear life jackets before venturing out into the water.

What's shocking to many people is that a lot of drowning deaths occur when the child is being supervised.  They may be only a short distance from an adult, but that person could be distracted.

"No one goes to the lake with family, friends or relatives thinking you're going to be coming home missing one and that's a good reason to take time, plan things right; take the right safety precautions.  Know where you're going and if it doesn't look safe, it probably isn't," DeYoung said.

DeYoung also suggests children swim with a buddy.

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