, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

July 3, 2014

Keep kids safe around water

GROVES — Water safety is the topic of the day as families head to the pool for a refreshing swim.

Shari Pullium, spokeswoman for the Texas Department Of Family And Protective Services, said this year 35 children drowned in Texas area including nine in the region.

Pullium headed to the Groves Swimming Pool where 32 children ages six through 12 from Red Apple Day Care gathered to swim on Thursday.

“Watch your kids around the water. If you can’t see them you can’t help them,” Pullium said. “People think it takes a large body of water, such as a pool this size, for a child to drown. That’s not true. Children have drowned in bathtubs, mop buckets, toilets and even septic tanks.”

Last year, 82 children drowned in the state, most of them between Memorial Day and Labor Day, when water activities peak.

While teens and older children drown each year, most victims are six years old or younger. Very young children are often fascinated with water and don’t realize the danger. Remember that drowning is silent. Don’t expect a child who is in trouble to call for help, according to information from the DFPS.

The Groves pool is being managed by the YMCA. Lifeguards Josh Humphrey and Charles Milich are two of the certified persons on duty at the pool.

“You have to be alert to your surroundings,” Humphrey said.

Milich, who is head lifeguard and has worked at the pool for five years, said agrees.

“It’s tough but it’s a very important job. You have to keep people safe,” Milich said.

Crystal Bradford, office assistant with Red Apple Day Care, was part of the group at the pool. Two of her own children, Elizabeth, 10, and Randall, 14, were with her Thursday.

“This is very important,” Bradford said of the water safety event at the pool. “There are so many drownings. Children need to learn water safety and learn how to swim.”

Groves Fire Department Assistant Chief Kelley Moore offered summer related tips as well, focusing on the issue of leaving children in a hot car.

“People have accidentally locked their children in a car and when we go out we use our equipment first to open the door. If we can’t get in we’ll break  the window,” Moore said. “You constantly need to watch your children. A lot of times we see parents leave their kids in the car to run into the store. That is a misdemeanor crime. Plus, if it’s 90 degrees outside it can reach 140 to 160 inside and remember, children’s skin and organs are more delicate than ours.”

Groves Police Det. Kirk Rice offered tips for when kids are out of the pool.

“Parents need to make sure their children have bicycle helmets that fit properly,” Rice said. “They are an inexpensive way to save a life.”


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