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Take caution while swimming in open waters

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Take caution while swimming in open waters
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Mother and daughter at play on the beach
Safe Kids Website

A new study shows children drown at a higher rate between the months of May and August. MPB's Ashley Norwood reports on how to keep your kids safe.

At least 1,000 children drown each year in the U.S., according to a new report by Safe Kids Worldwide. It shows more than half of those drownings occur during the summer and in open water instead of a pool.

Morag MacKay is the lead author of the report. She says African-American and Native-American children are among the most at risk. Older teens are more likely to drown in open water, and 8 out of 10 of those victims are male.

"Those populations may be less likely to learn how to swim as kids get a little bit older there may be a little less supervision but then the other thing is open water is more dangerous than a pool in some ways," says MacKay.

MacKay lists some hidden hazards.

"When you get into open water it's really easy to very quickly swim further out than you think you are and be challenged getting back in. We also have things in rivers and oceans like currents or tides where you know if the child gets caught in a current it can be really scary and they can get into trouble quite quickly," said MacKay.

Michele Cateson is with the Gulf Coast YMCA. She says swimming at recreational pools is more safe, and swim lessons can save your child's life.

"The worst thing you could do is panic. Cause then you tense up and then it's going to be harder to stay afloat and be able to call for help. So through swim lessons, they learn how to float and in several different ways they learn how to call out, they learn the importance of being watched by the lifeguard and sometimes it just happens so quickly," said Cateson.

The report is available at safekids.org. Ashley Norwood, MPB News.