CDC: Minorities and children most at risk of drowning

BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) - Ten people die everyday from unintentional drowning, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

Some of the groups most at risk of drowning are children and African Americans.  CDC statistics show between 2000 and 2007, the drowning rate of African American children ages five to 14 was more than three times the rate of white children.

The Walker Park pool in Blytheville is set to open Saturday.

"First week we're open we run at full capacity basically, and after that we kind of slow down a little bit, but usually it's around 50- to 100 people everyday," said pool manager Tim Yost.

Yost said the pool staff takes several precautions at the to make sure patrons are safe. "We have five lifeguards that will be in the stands at all times. Depending on the crowd size, we'll have five walking around on the pier keeping their eyes on the water. We got 10 guards at all times out here."

Yost said the trained lifeguards do all they can to protect people in the 250,000 gallons of water in the pool, but swimmers also need to take precautions.

"Listen to the lifeguards. They'll keep you straight if you get wrong," said Yost.

African Americans reported the least swimming ability in the CDC survey.

Formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88 percent, according to the CDC statistics, and observing the rules of the pool can only help.

"No running. No running on the piers, or on the deck. No diving off the shelf in the shallow end."

Click here for more swimming safety tips.

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