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As temperatures rise in Bakersfield, it's time to get serious about water safety

Posted at 10:45 PM, Jun 06, 2024

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Between 2018 and 2022, Kern County lost 21 children due to drowning. Kern County Public Health said the primary reason in most of these cases was a lack of supervision.

  • Video shows Madison Gray, a competitive swimmer for Cal State Bakersfield and swim instructor for In-Shape, as she goes through a swim lesson for kids.
  • Between 2018 and 2022, Kern County lost 21 children due to drowning. Kern County Public Health said the primary reason in most of these cases was a lack of supervision, which is why they started the Water Watcher campaign.
  • Public Health also encourages parents to learn basic CPR techniques, reminding parents that it can often take 7 to 10 minutes for emergency services to arrive.

In Bakersfield, chances are this summer you and your kids will spend some time around water whether at a lake, the river, or most likely a pool.

With temperatures nearing record highs, agencies across town are working hard to make sure you and your kids have to the skills to stay safe.

“Especially for those little kids, the first time they get into the water it’s a different feeling,” said Madison Gray, a competitive swimmer for Cal State Bakersfield and swim instructor.

Gray is using her expertise to help families and children learn how to have fun while being safe in the water. She’s been teaching swim lessons since she was in high school and now teaches at In-Shape on Ming Avenue.

“My favorite thing to do is play a game of Simon says, that tells me how comfortable they are,” she said.

In-Shape offers swim lessons for not only gym members, but the entire community. Angelyn Pulido, General Manager for In-Shape Family Fitness Bakersfield Seven Oaks, said pool safety is even more important to them given Bakersfield’s history of heat.

“Our community, we have the Kern River right down the way,” she said. “We have so many deaths every year of kids drowning, adults drowning. One of the leading causes of death for kids is drowning”

Between 2018 and 2022, Kern County lost 21 children due to drowning. Kern County Public Health said the primary reason in most of these cases was a lack of supervision, which is why they started the Water Watcher campaign. The idea is when you’re wearing the “Water Watcher” badge, you’re charged with keeping children safe near water.

Public Health also encourages parents to learn basic CPR techniques, reminding parents that it can often take 7 to 10 minutes for emergency services to arrive.

“You lose 10% viability with every minute that goes by without circulating blood,” said Jeff Fariss, EMS Program Manager for Public Health.

Along with making sure kids have proper swimming techniques, Gray also encourages parents to take a real interest in teaching their kids a healthy respect for pools and other bodies of water.


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