YMCA of Muscle Shoals talks swimming pool safety for summer season

After the death of a 3-year-old in Muscle Shoals, the YMCA explained how people can keep kids safe around water this summer.

Posted: Apr 29, 2019 6:26 PM
Updated: Apr 29, 2019 6:26 PM

After the drowning death of a 3-year-old in Muscle Shoals, the YMCA explained how people can keep kids safe around water this summer.

Police said they responded to the call Sunday morning, and the boy later died at Helen Keller Hospital. They can confirm the 3-year-old's death but are not giving out any information about his name or where he drowned.

It's the first drowning we've reported on this season and with temperatures in the 80s this week, advocates are getting out the word about keeping your kids safe around water this summer.

"Seconds really count in aquatic emergencies, so we want to know where that rescue equipment is," said Erin Blalock, program director at the YMCA of the Shoals.

She said some 4,000 Americans drown every year.

Blalock says parents and guardians need to know the swimming level of each child, and when they're actually in danger.

"A lot of times we hear people say, 'Well, I thought they were just playing,' and what they were really doing is they were struggling and then they were going under water," she said.

Blalock says she teaches everyone at the "Y" to "reach or throw but never go."

That means if someone is in danger, you should reach to them with something like a noodle or paddle board. If you can't do that, then throw it out to the person, but Blalock says to never try to rescue him or her if you're not a trained lifeguard.

"You can quickly get pulled under water by someone who is panicking, and then we have two victims and it's very difficult to get them out of the water," said Blalock.

There are two things Blalock stressed as far as safety at the pool: supervision and dehydration. A dehydrated child can collapse by water, and then drown.

"Stay hydrated outside, stay hydrated by the pool, at the beach, wherever you are, and make sure you're watching your kids," she said.

The Colbert County coroner told WAAY 31 on Monday, the drowning in Muscle Shoals is a tragic accident, and the police chief says he won't release any more information out of respect for the family, who's in his prayers.

The YMCA says not all pools are the same, and you should always point out to your children where the safety equipment is. Always have a safety plan, and have life jackets ready to use.

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