Upstate charity aims to decrease number of drownings - FOX Carolina 21

Upstate charity aims to decrease number of drownings

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(file/FOX Carolina) (file/FOX Carolina)

Most Upstate pools are packed this time of year, with temperatures rising and kids on summer vacation. One upstate charity called Upstate Splash is working with young, at-risk children to teach swimming and water safety.  Leslie and Steve Scott are some of the founders of the charity. 

"Childhood drowning for kids 5 and under is the number 1 issue for loss for life. And then we found for kids under 14 is the number 2 issue for loss of life. And we found that unacceptable," Steve Scott said. 

"We have provided over 200 swim lesson to children in the area and these are under privileged kids we work with that wouldn't be able to have access to swim lessons," Leslie Scott said. 

Upstate Splash said it is very important for parents to be aware of water safety. They say South Carolina is one of the leading states for drownings in the US. "When you have swimming pools you need to make sure you have your fences up, your fences locked and when no one is around you want to have pool covers, pool alarms and those are layers of protection we try and encourage and educate people," Steve Scott said. 

this founders have background in swim coaching and want to teach them not only to swim but about water safety.

"It may sound odd and it seem like it's not that major but there is a lot of loss of life because of not having drains that are compliant," Steve Scott said. 

"If you're at a lake or anywhere, always have a water watcher and we have cards that are on a lanyard and they are laminated and the person wearing that card is in charge of watching," Leslie Scott said. 

The risk management instructor, John Schlankser, at the YMCA Adam Mills Center agrees, saying parents should not leave their child to be watched solely by a lifeguard. 

"There used be an attitude of throw, row and go- and so throw a stick, rescue material, row, grab a row boat try and reach out to them and go in if you're a strong enough swimmer," Schlankser said. 

We reached out to counties around the area about drowning rates and  Abbeville County had one last year, none this year. Laurens had one last year and one so far this year. Pickens had none last year but one in 2016. Oconee had 3 drownings last year, none so far this year.
"As quick as you're having fun, a drowning can happen without you even knowing it," Steve Scott said. 

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