Splashing in the pool at Tyler Scuba and Swim Monday morning was not just a fun jaunt for the children in attendance, but a learning experience to teach them about water safety and swimming basics.

Tiffany Roberts said she fears her children will find themselves in a life or death situation in water and not know what to do.

"I get very nervous when they are around water and with two children, I am afraid I will be with one and the other one would need me before I could get to them. It is so scary," she said as her 10-year-old son, Mason, listened to swim instructor Courtney Jones in the pool.

Ms. Roberts' 5-year-old daughter, Allie, waited patiently for her turn in the pool.

The Roberts are one of many families across East Texas spending time at local pools to learn about water safety.

According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, 31 children have drowned this year across the state.

The Centers for Disease Control show there were an average of 3,533 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) annually in the United States from 2011 to 2009.

An average of 347 people died each year from drowning in boating-related incidents.

A 19-year-old man died Saturday at Tyler State Park as a result of drowning, according to Texas Game Warden Capt. Quint Balkcom.

Balkcom said swimmers need to be aware of their abilities and should never attempt something outside those abilities.

"There's a plethora of reasons people drown, but things like alcohol consumption, not knowing the water conditions, diving into shallow water and not paying attention are some of the more common," he said.

Balkcom said the Tyler State Park drowning was the second of the weekend, as his office also responded to a drowning of a child in Mt. Pleasant.

"People have that mindset that they can just go out and swim, even though some don't have the ability. We are trained in combat rescue swimming, and we still bury game wardens who have drowned," he said.

Tracey Dykes, whose son Brennan, 6, and her grandaughter, Makenzie Stewart, 9, were students at the center, said the drownings emphasized to her the importance of swim lessons.

"I just wanted them to know how to swim and about water safety. I want them to be safe in the water," she said.

Neal Tapps, owner at Tyler Scuba and Swim, said the lessons run all summer.

"Hopefully they will pay attention and learn what they are supposed to be learning. We do have some adults come out, and I would suggest that as well, because even adults should know how to swim," he said.


Water Safety Tips for Parents

1. Never leave a baby alone in a bath for any reason.

2. Get any supplies you need before running water.

1. Infants can drown in any amount of water, so never leave a baby alone near water. If you must leave the room, take the child with you.

2. Warn babysitters or caregivers about the dangers of water to young children and stress the need for constant supervision.

3. Make sure small children cannot leave the house through pet doors or unlocked doors and get to pools or hot tubs.

4. Secure access to swimming pools, using fences, self-closing and latching gates and water surface alarms.

5. Never leave children alone around with water, whether it is in a pool, wading pool, drainage ditch, creek, pond or lake.

6. Constantly watch children who are swimming or playing in water.

7. Don't allow children to swim without an adult or certified lifeguard watching and within reach.

8. Completely remove pool covers when the pool is in use.

9. Store water toys away from the water when not in use so they don't attract a small child. Don't assume young children will use good judgment and caution around water.

10. Be ready for emergencies. Keep emergency telephone numbers handy and learn CPR.

11. Find out if your child's friends or neighbors have home pools.


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