DCFS stresses swimming safety


Reporter - Kathryn DiGisi

MARION, Ill. - In just the past week in Illinois, there have been four child drowning deaths.

Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in toddlers nationally, and it is the third leading cause of accidental death in children.

Drownings can happen in any body of water, even a bathtub or a bucket.

A child can drown in as little as one inch of water.

The sounds of summer are joyful, but they can turn tragic in an instant.

Department of Children and Family Services spokesman Dave Clarkin says children have to be constantly supervised.

"You can't take your eyes off your kid for a second because a child can drown in as little as 20 seconds," said Clarkin.

That is something qualified life guards like Zack Bernico are constantly aware of.

"I'm CPR certified, AED certified, I have a first aid certification and I am life guard certified," said Bernico.

Kim Reveal is a mother and a grandmother, she also works with children.

On Friday, she had about 15 kids with her at the pool.

"When you have children in water you need multiple layers of supervision," said Reveal.

Before her kids suit up, teachers and students complete a water knowledge course.

She stresses teaching your little one how to tell when they need a swim break and when to yell for help.

Clarkin says that parents put way too much trust in flotation devices, like water wings.

He says they often develop a slow leak that you won't even notice.

Your best bet is a certified life jacket.

But even when you take those extra precautions, Clarkin says you should never be more than an arms reach from your child.

And every life guard will tell you, the more eyes on the pool the better.

Clarkin wants to remind parents that small, plastic pools can be just as deadly as the real thing.

He suggests emptying the pool and turning it upside down when it is not in use.