MONROE, La (06/12/19) — Beating the summer heat with a dip in the pool is always a fun time, but with fun you always have to be careful. This summer, Louisiana officials are determined to make safety the number one priority when it comes to getting involved with water. 

As the temperatures starts to rise and summer begins, kids can’t wait to make a splash. However, parents should be mindful of more things than just having a good time. 

“The leading cause of death is drowning in our area,” said Nick Sosso, the Quality Improvement Coordinator for Acadian Ambulance.

According to the Louisiana Department of Health, the state has the highest drowning rate in the country for children ages one through 14. Monroe city experts want to make sure parents are prepared.

“The easiest prevention technique for drowning is supervision and then being prepared. Having those physical blocks, like fencing and self-locking gates,” said Sosso.

Most drownings happen because people aren’t paying attention to their kids. 
The shallow end doesn’t automatically mean safe. 

“Don’t be distracted, it only takes a fraction of a second. Most drownings happen within ten yards of safety.”

Sosso says you can drown in the pool, an inch or water, and even the bathtub. He recommends parents give children an advantage.

“We need to give them [kids] the tools to be safe, and one of the ways to do that is making sure every child has access to swim lessons.”

Several places in Monroe offer those classes, but it’s important to allow kids to get comfortable with the water before calling quits on lessons. 

“It’s important that you keep your children in [swim class] as long as it takes for them to learn. Because I’ve had some learn in 15 minutes and I’ve had some learn in months. Success rate wise, it’s about two weeks,” said Katherin Laboy, swim instructor at Bayou Divers.  ​​

Sosso says if something does happen, call 911, start compressions, and they will help you through the rest.