CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Sheraton Plantation Resort did not wish to comment on the 7-year-old child that reportedly drowned in the hotel's lazy river over the weekend. However, we did reach out to swimming instructors and lifeguards in the area to go over safety tips and ways to avoid future tragedies from happening.
June Wood is the Aquatic Coordinator for the city of Conway, and has been teaching swim safety for years. She says one of the biggest problems she's seen are parents over-estimating their child's swimming abilities.
"Whether it's by a lake or a river, you need to be aware of what your child is capable of," Wood said.
The average child learns to swim between the age of 3 to 5, Wood said. However, that age can always vary, and many kids never learn how to swim properly.
"Getting them the appropriate lessons for their ability," is important, Wood said. "There's also a lot of seminars people do. And then also another great thing is to get their parents educated about doing CPR."
Another tip is to always be aware of flotation devices near you at all times. With beach season ramping up, Wood says the ocean brings a whole separate set of safety rules.
"That's what you need to understand when you're visiting the beach is that you should always be prepared for unpredictable things to happen," Wood said. "So you need to make sure you can locate the appropriate person on the beach, and if it's not light outside it's not a good idea to go out."
Wood says the key to saving a life is timing, and reacting the moment you see something is wrong. "Get involved fast, that way it doesn't become a bad situation," she said. "And as soon as you start to see something happening that you're uncomfortable with, act immediately. I think it's 10 percent every minute that a person is having trouble, that their life chances decrease."