With a string of summer drowning deaths in Raleigh, families are proceeding with caution in the Triangle’s pools, lakes and rivers.
The burial hadn’t even taken place for 14-year-old Jaimel Cooper who drowned at Goldsboro’s Busco Beach, when a 15-month-old baby girl drowned in a Johnston County backyard swimming pool. In the same day two children under the age of 10, Katherine Rcom and Johnny Nay, died after being swept away in strong currents on the Neuse River.
With every type of waterway bringing fatalities, there is no one way to prevent drowning accidents and injuries. Man-made Busco Beach has signage telling swimmers to swim at their own risk; natural waterways like rivers bring not only the risk of drowning, but snake bites and slip-and-fall injuries on slippery rocks. Backyard swimming pools are notorious for spinal injuries when swimmers attempt to jump or dive in shallow areas.
How can families keep kids safe while they swim in NC and prevent drownings?
If you own a pool: Add non-slip materials to decks, ladders and diving boards. Check fencing, gates and locks to make sure they’re well-maintained and child-proof. Add a pool alarm, which will notify you if someone is accessing the pool.
If you’re visiting a pool: Keep children away from pipes and pool drains where they can be easily trapped.
- If you swim in a lake: Be observant of boat traffic, have children use proper flotation devices and stay in areas that are designated for swimming. Set up buddy systems with kids, this way you can keep an eye on all of them and they will also be keeping on eye on each other.
- If you swim in a river: Be extra careful around rocks and fallen trees, which may look like safe surfaces to walk on but could be slippery or rotten.
No matter where you and your family are swimming: Supervise children and other adults. Slip-and-falls happen at any age and adults can be vulnerable to drowning deaths too. Just in case, always make sure you have a cell phone nearby, preferably kept in a water-tight container, like a Zip-loc bag or a dry bag found at recreational supply stores.