Wild Swimming is great fun for all the family, but this news report from America is a sobering reminder of the need to follow the Swim Safe code when children venture into open waters.
Children and Parents need to follow the Swim Safe Code
KCWY13 reports: “Over the past few months, News13 has been following the committee working to make the Platte River safer following the drowning of a young boy.
This week their ‘Respect Our River’ campaign officially took off. News13’s Lauren Wells was there today as they continued to bring their campaign to life.
I sat in on their meeting this afternoon and learned how they plan to continue their campaign through the winter and was even there as they posted their first of many warning signs along the river.
For some committee members, ‘Respect Our River’ is more than a campaign.
Russell Reddick, one of the committee’s first members, has a personal connection to the campaign, saying, “Back in 2004 I lost my daughter to the water. She was in swimming lessons and they weren’t watching her. If you can drown in swimming lessons in just a blink of an eye with dozens of people watching the water, how easy is it to drown in this river with no one watching you?”
After months of planning, the campaign is now live. Committee members kicked it off in the classroom Tuesday, offering a free water safety class to sixth grade students at CY Middle school. This will be the first of many.
Casper Fire Chief Kenny King explains, “The children and the students throw ropes. They learn about the dangers of the river. The expectations of what you’re gonna find if you think this is a fun little place to swim.”
Campaign members also started lining the river with warning signs this week and King says although the peak season is over, the signs will be useful during the winter too. King says, “We have had many drownings in the winter time. People think you can cross the river or have fun on the ice but it’s way too dangerous to be out on.”
And by the time winter is over, five life jacket stations will be spread along the river for free use. The first one is almost done. Says King, “If you can’t afford a life jacket, we want to provide you a loaner life jacket so while you are playing and enjoying our river you have a life jacket on.”
But no matter what initiatives the committee takes, they say it all comes down to one thing. King adds, “It’s a jewel of our community but we just need to respect it.”
Reddick seconds that, saying, “Our river is a fun yet dangerous thing to play on. We need to respect it and it can be enjoyed safely if we do it right.”
Committee members will place more signs around the river late next week and more classes will be held for other age groups in the near future.”
You can no longer watch the report, it has been removed.
The lesson from this story is one that we all need to take seriously. Children must learn to swim well!
See also: Is PC Costing Lives?