Teen drowning brings water safety to the surface

Safety first when it comes to swimming!

The tragic drowning of a 14-year-old Amarillo teenager Sunday evening brings swimming and water safety to the minds of many across the area, especially with summer approaching.

"A lot of kids get excited, they see the water and they just go," said City of Amarillo Parks and Recreation Aquatics Supervisor, Janice Young. "So we really encourage proper life jackets and that goes anytime, anytime you're curious about a child's swimming ability, the life jacket is a really good way to go."

Young encouraged life jackets over any other kind of arm floaties or other flotation devices that can deflate or be easily removed. Along with a life jacket, one of the best ways parents or guardians can protect their kids around any body of water is close supervision.

"We have a rule a City pools that if you're 12 and under you must be accompanied by proper supervision before coming into the facility," said Young. "Anytime there's water, you should always supervise your kids."

No matter what water you're near -- pool, lake, ocean -- it's important to always be on standby because it only takes about 30 seconds for a bad situation to turn into a fatal one.

"You're looking at a 30 second window. If a child is able to stay on the surface of the water and then after that 30 seconds, the air, they start gasping for air and then they can start submerging," said Young. "30 seconds or less, it can happen."

Parents knowing their child's swimming ability can greatly reduce the risk for an accident if your child needs help swimming, the City of Amarillo offers both spring and summer swimming lessons. Spring lessons are held at the Downtown YMCA and summer lessons won't begin until June 4.