Summer may be over, but kids in the water can still be trouble - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Summer may be over, but kids in the water can still be trouble

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

South Carolina is among the top ten in the country for the highest drowning rates. While summer has come and gone, one Midlands company is pushing for families to be smart in the water safety all year long.

"Most people do think of water safety in the summer months, but the reality is children do die as a result of drowning or left disabled as a result of near drowning year round," said Michael Morris with the Samuel Morris Foundation.

From bathtubs to kiddie pools, the risk is ever-present. Even if children do not drown, near-drowning can be just as dangerous.

"A quarter of near drownings are left with brain damage -- disabled for life," said Morris.

That's where Jim Reiser with the Swim Lessons Company comes in.

South Carolina is ninth in the nation for drownings.

"If we can save one life in one school, we're doing our job," Reiser said.

Reiser, president of the company is targeting a pretty young group -- preschool to elementary age.

"When we teach them about the risk, we think children will make better decisions in these situations and in turn can save lives," said Reiser.

Reiser's company has worksheets with checklists for parents and students and interactive videos along with swim lessons that help water safety sink in.

"Once they get to that 1 to 4-year-old, they become mobile and they're exploring the world and as any parent will tell you, you only have to turn your head for a minute and your child's out of sight," Morris said. "The water's attractive to them, it's an environment they have fun in, so they're naturally attracted to it and unfortunately have this high drowning rate."

They hope tips like constant adult supervision and proper swimming lessons can save lives.

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