Seniors Learn How to Prevent Drownings

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It's never too late to learn how you can protect your family from drowning. Senior citizens gathered at East Lansing's Hannah Community Center to learn how to keep their families safe in the water.

Experts say so far this year, drownings are up 50% over this date in 2013. 23 people have died in the Great Lakes and many more inland.

Bob Pratt, Executive Director of Education for Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project says, "Hollywood has given us this portrayal that drowning is a very loud, very visual thing. Baywatch used to show people drowning with waving and yelling and it really is a very silent affair."

Pratt teaches a course that gives families tools to prevent drownings.
Mary Ann Johnson is a grandmother and is concerned about their safety on the water. "My 3 older grandchildren are very competent swimmers. My 6 year old grandson, is, was a preemie, and he is an only child, very valuable to us, obviously and precious to us and we have a cottage on the lake. We want to make sure he learns to swim and I want to know about drowning prevention."

Pratt says, "Drownings is the leading cause of accidental death in children 1 to 4 and its the second leading cause of accidental death in children under 14. It's a huge huge problem."

Pratt's class teaches"The Safer 3." It shows parents and grandparents an approach to safety that includes a safer swimmer, safer water, and a safer response. Pratt says, "They just need to be aware that they really need to be the caregivers for their grandchildren, or other people that are under their care. It would really help if they would know what drowning looks like, know how to respond appropriately and just keep everybody safer around the water."