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  • Heather Murray

Parents Preventing Childhood Drownings presents Sunday Survival Stories: Rain and Debris

Every Sunday, we will share a story of a non-fatal drowning, discuss where things went wrong, and give some pointers on how to prevent it from happening to the people you love. Thankfully, these stories have happy endings for those involved, but sadly, we lose too many people to drowning every year. We hope examining these real-life stories help put the dangers of water into perspective and help you introduce various principles of water safety to your family!

Today’s story shares a pastime of three good friends in Illinois- watching water for people in need of help.

This story highlights three important factors for choosing a safe place to swim in natural bodies of water.

1- How is the weather? Rain can change water behavior, a lot! With more rain flow comes higher and faster moving water. Swimming holes that may normally appear calm and easy to swim in may now have dangerous red flags- like swift moving water and currents.

2- Is there debris in the water? If you can see a lot of debris (like trees/logs) moving in the water this should be a red flag for potential danger. Debris floating on top of the water can be helpful in determining how quickly the water is moving, but it is also a sign that there is potentially more debris underneath the water. This debris can cause dangerous situations for swimmers/kayakers/boaters etc who suddenly find themselves underwater and caught up and unable to resurface.

3- Have you talked to the locals? Before you swim in a new location you should do some research on the area. Have there been fatal drownings and/or water rescues there before? Talking to family or friends who live near the area may give you a better understanding of the water conditions so you can make the right call on your abilities to swim there. Once there, locals present may be able to point you towards safer areas or recommend better swimming holes based on your groups age and ability.

Natural bodies of water present a different swimming environment every day. Have fun, be safe, and pick the best place to swim!

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