Mother of six explains how she keeps kids safe at the pool

Posted at 7:15 PM, Jun 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-03 22:19:07-04

In Texas alone, 33 kids have drowned since the beginning of the year according to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. 

With temperatures on the rise, even more families are heading out to the pool.

Evan Bates is the aquatics director at the YMCA of Waco. He said more than 800 people tend to visit the pool daily once the weather starts to warm up.

"This time of the year, all pools are going to be super busy because it's hot outside and you need a cool place to have fun," Bates said. 

Renee Clayton and her six children often spend hours splashing around in the pool at YMCA of Waco to beat the heat.

"We come out very often during the summer.  We come about four days a week all summer long," Clayton said. "It's a great place to cool off and the lifeguards are really good!"

While Clayton appreciates the added safety, she still goes out of her way to keep her kids at arm's length.

"Don't let your guard down. Don't go reading that magazine or that book," Clayton said. "I know you're like 'I'm sitting out by the pool, I'm going to sit back and relax and close my eyes' but if you've got kids in the pool, that's not the case at all."

Bates said Clayton has the right idea since lifeguards are mainly there to avoid accidents and help in emergencies.

"They're not necessarily there as a second set of eyes as it were for the parent or as some people like to say a babysitter," Bates said. 

Bates said parents should keep their children in view and be aware of their swimming skills before allowing them to go in the water.

"One thing I always tell parents is never take your eyes off your kids, even if it's for a second," Bates said. "It only takes as little as 20 seconds a fun afternoon to become a serious situation. The other thing is, if you're ever in doubt, get them in a life jacket."

Along with a life jacket for one of her little ones, Clayton also has her kids follow the buddy system and she hops in the pool herself to join in on the fun.

"We just have to be vigilant and resist those phone calls and say 'hang on' to that other mom 'I've got to go after my child,'" Clayton said.

The YMCA of Waco also offers swim lessons for children at all levels.

For more details on those classes, click here.

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