Red Cross teaches little locals about water safety

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Whether in a pool or many of the lakes that soak Suffolk, there’s a number of important lessons for swimmers to remember, especially the inexperienced.

Never swim in murky waters in which the bottom can’t be seen. Don’t dive into less than seven feet of water. On a boat, always wear a life jacket, and make sure it’s the right size.

Young swimmers like Dequwanda Beamon and Omika Jones learned these and several other lessons at the Suffolk Red Cross’ third annual Water Safety Day Friday morning at the Cypress Pool.

Email newsletter signup

&uot;I learned how to hold my breath underwater and swim better,&uot; said Jones, a student at John F. Kennedy Middle School. &uot;I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to dive in any kind of water.&uot;

Beamon also learned some new tricks.

&uot;The lifeguard taught me how to stroke backwards,&uot; said the Kennedy student. &uot;I made some new friends. Now I can teach somebody else how to swim.&uot;

Water safety isn’t just for the kids, said Cross health and safety services coordinator Lisa Harrell, whose group also made fingerprint kits and identification photos for the children.

&uot;Because the Suffolk community is around a lot of water, both pools and lakes,&uot; she said, handing out water wing floatation devices, &uot;families need to be aware of being safe around the water. They need to know how to rescue a loved one, such as by throwing them a rope or oar.

&uot;We especially want to teach them to never swim alone; that’s the most important thing.&uot;