Editorial: Powerful reminders from water

Jul. 06, 2013 @ 09:12 PM

We have no way of knowing what it is like to be submerged in water, with no escape and to not come up and breathe again.

Yet, across the country, the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate unintentional drownings happen about 3,500 times a year. That’s roughly 10 a day over the calendar year, probably more if considering most water activities happen between spring and fall.

It has been more than a year since the Tri-County had one at Kerr Lake. That was its first in quite a while.

When dusk fell over Brunswick County beaches Friday night, four people had lost their lives in two days. Rip currents did the beach damage.

Water is powerful, especially when moving. But even at a standstill, for example in a pool, supervisors can be distracted and the fun in the water can lead to a few unsafe movements. All it takes is one.

According to the CDC, about one in five who die from drowning are children ages 14 and younger. And for each one of those who die, another five get care at emergency rooms.

Among the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services safety tips:

• Teach children how to swim as soon as possible.

• Never swim alone and never when tired or not feeling well.

• Swim only in supervised areas.

• When swimming in rivers and the ocean, mind the currents.

• Young children should wear personal floatation devices in the water.

• Do not drink alcohol when swimming or supervising others who are swimming.

• Install fences and keep safety equipment handy.

Bear in mind, tips about drowning are not just for children, or those watching them.

Adults drown, too. The ages of the four who drowned in Brunswick County were 54, 55, 57 and 72.

Summertime is generally thought of as fun, albeit hot, with lots of laughter and children playing, enjoying school-free days. Families, including those with adult-age children, enjoy the state’s beautiful waters and make use of pools.

We urge everyone to use safe practices in and around the water, and always to be on the lookout for others.