Lufkin lifeguards need help keeping all kids safe at the pool

Lifeguard Ben Honeywell
Lifeguard Ben Honeywell

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Forty-eight children have drowned so far this year in Texas. The Department of Family and Protective Services hopes to educate parents about supervising their kids around water this summer.

"Texas families flock to water to keep cool and have fun during the summer season, but it can be very tragic and dangerous for smaller children," said Shari Pulliam, D.F.P.S. spokesperson.

Backyard pools are mostly to blame for recent drowning incidents, but public pools, lakes, and beaches can be just as dangerous. Actually, any amount of standing water poses a danger to little ones.

"It only takes a few inches of water for a child to drown... We've had children drown in mop buckets," said Pulliam.

Supervision is the key to preventing this from happening again.

"Our slogan is very simple: see and save. If you can't see your child, you can't save your child from drowning," said Pulliam.

Ben Honeywell is a lifeguard at Lufkin's Jones Park Pool. He does his best to keep dozens of swimmers safe at a time.

"Our main job is to prevent anything like that from happening in the first place. I know me and the other lifeguards here - every time a small child get here we ask, 'can you swim'?" said Honeywell.

But they can't do it alone.

Before you even let your kids get in the pool, lifeguards want parents to go over the pool rules with their kids. Then, help enforce them.

"It helps lifeguards making sure there's not a life-threatening situation while kids are running and stuff like that," said Honeywell.

However, even when there's a lifeguard on duty, Pulliam says it's better to be safe than sorry.

"You can't count on someone else to watch your own child. You need to watch your own child at all times around water," said Pulliam.

Pulliam says parents need to give their kids swimming lessons as young as possible.

Also, educating the entire family about not swimming unless you're wearing floaties.  Recent deaths have been caused by kids taking off their floaties and then getting back into the water.

©2011 KTRE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.