Thursday, July 24 2014 12:22 AM EDT2014-07-24 04:22:38 GMT
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MONTGOMERY CO., AL (WSFA) -
Last summer, over 300 children in the U.S. drowned and most of them were under the age of 5. Just this weekend, a 7-year-old boy died after slipping into deep water while wading in Smith Lake.
While we crowd around the pool and our BBQ's this Memorial Day, it's important to remember the danger is real.
For swimmers young and old, it's been about a year since many have dipped their toes into the water and Bell Road YMCA Aquatics Director Jayme Creamer says that heightens the safety concerns of summer.
Before you dive in and plan your next pool party or trip to the lake, Creamer stresses the importance of active parenting.
"We want parents to pay attention to their kids in the pool, instead of leaving it to the lifeguard or other supervision around the pool; they've got to be attentive to their children," Creamer said.
Experts say swimming lessons should start as early in life as possible and only flotation devices certified by the U.S. Coast Guard will cut it.
"If the parents are going to be hands on and be involved, the floaties are ok, what happens is they put floaties on the children and let them go at it and that's where its unsafe," Creamer said.
Creamer says whether you identify yourself as a fish or you're watching from the sidelines, the first step is to get comfortable with the water.
"They can play with noodles and kickboards they're just floatation support not guaranteed to save them," Creamer said.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission recently launched the Pool Safely Pledge. It's a checklist that adults can use to commit to a safe swim season.
It calls for adults to: designate a water watcher every single time children in their care are in or near the water; make sure kids in their care know how to swim; learn CPR; and ensure that all pools have a proper fence, gate, and safe drain covers.