News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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June 20, 2014

Water safety urged as Indiana drowning deaths rise

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Parents are being reminded about the importance of water safety as Indiana has seen an increase in drowning deaths this year.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources reports at least 28 open water drownings so far in 2014, with a dozen of those victims 18 years old or younger. That’s compared last year’s nearly 30 drowning deaths, including three children, the Journal & Courier reported.

State conservation Officer Matt Tholen said it was important that no one ever go swimming alone.

“I always recommend wearing a life jacket any time you’re around a body of water, whether it’s a creek or a pool,” Tholen said.

Michael Blann, assistant chief of special operations for the Lafayette Fire Department, said children or anyone else who doesn’t know how to swim should stay out of bodies of water at all times.

“Water attracts people for recreation, and they don’t understand what the danger is,” he said. “Everybody needs to know how to swim.”

Miranda James said her 9-year-old and 8-year-old children have taken swimming lessons at the Lafayette YMCA and her 5-year-old daughter will be doing so soon.

James said she often brings her children to Wildcat Creek near Lafayette because she enjoys the open space more than going to a crowded public pool. James understands that no body of water is 100 percent safe.

“When there are a lot of people, I keep them really close to me,” she said.

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