Tips parents need to know for Kern River safety

Posted at 2:35 PM, May 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-25 21:15:48-04

The Water Safety Coalition, made up of several city and county departments, preached the A,B,C's of water safety as we head toward Memorial Day weekend.

A- Adult supervision. "Not only when you're out there enjoying the pool, the BBQ, but all the time," Kern County Fire Chief Brian Marshall said. All too often, children see a toy or pet or something fall into the pool and try to get it, in turn endangering their own life.

B- Barrier. "Two common kinds of barriers for pool safety, that's a fence... and an alarm," Marshall said. The fence should have a lock at the top, out of reach of children, and should open away from the pool, so children cannot push their way in. The alarm should be on each door that enters the backyard, and should be a unique and loud noise, so anyone inside can hear it and know what it means.

C-Classes. "You need to teach children how to swim," Marshall said. Teaching children how to swim, makes them safer around water.

D- Drainage. People can get stuck in pool drains, ensure you have filter covers.

READ: Keeping your family safe around water

While these particular A, B, C's pertain mostly to the pool, several officials, from County and City Fire, and the Kern County Sheriff's Office, reminded parents that children can drown in just a couple inches of water, whether it's water in a mop bucket, or a toilet bowl.

In 2015, 12 people died from drowning in Kern County. Four people drowned in the Kern River, according to the coalition.

Locals spending the day at Hart Park said they know the dangers of the fast moving current. "We would tie ourselves to a tree, so we would go out swimming. To give you an example, the current used to take us down, so we were like, you know what? Nah, we're going to stay away," Leonard, a father of three, said.

"Our goal as the Water Safety Coalition and American Kids, is to make Bakersfield a no drown town," Swim Director Michelle Williams said.

Officials say the current is stronger in the river this year, urging families planning on hitting the water for the holiday weekend, to take caution and wear life vests.