State officials, Red Cross raising awareness for water safety

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SPRINGFIELD - The American Red Cross, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, and the Illinois Association of Park Districts are teaming up to raise awareness for Childhood Drowning Prevention Month.

Officials say 24 children in Illinois died due to accidental drowning in 2014.  Thirteen of those deaths happened in pools, and nine of those children were under five years of age.  State officials are encouraging residents to install self-closing, self-locking gates, alarms, and warning sensors near any large bodies of water on their property in order to protect children from these preventable incidents.  Residents are also reminded to empty large buckets of water and turn them over when not in use, as toddlers have been known to drown in those kinds of buckets.

Additionally, the American Red Cross is teaming up with community organizations throughout the state to offer a variety of water safety classes and swimming lessons designed to help save lives.  Red Cross officials also recommend that caregivers learn CPR, and that they keep a phone, emergency numbers, and rescue equipment nearby when around large bodies of water.

For more water safety tips, visit redcross.org/watersafety.

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