July 21 • 09:48 PM

Kids dive intowater safety

May 30, 2007
IMLAY CITY —Everybody into the water?

Not quite yet. And certainly not before members of the Lapeer County Sheriff's Department Dive Team share some tips on water safety with local kids.

With temperatures rising and the end of the school year nigh, school officials are eager to ensure that students learn to protect themselves on and around the water this summer.

Lapeer County Dive Team member Dale Harmon assists a youngster with her life vest during ‘Splish Splash’ training session in Imlay City. photo by Tom Wearing.
On Tuesday, Dive Team members Sgt. Harry Lutze and Deputy Dale Harmon visited Weston Elementary to give second graders some hands-on lessons in water safety.

Espousing the virtues of the the county's "Splish Splash" Safety Education School Program, Lutze and Harmon urged the youngsters to be wary of conditions that can lead to drowning.

Among the safety tips presented to the children, the deputies stressed the following:

•Learn to swim.

•Always be supervised by an adult.

•Always wear a good-fitting personal floatation device (life jacket).

•Always use the "buddy system." Never go into the water alone.

•Be water smart. Be aware of water conditions and observant of potential dangers.

•Don't try to rescue someone by yourself. Always seek help or call 911.

•If you get in trouble in the water, try to relax and float. Don't panic.

Sgt. Lutze said it's the fourth year Dive Team members have been promoting the "Splish Splash" program at schools in Lapeer County.

He pointed out that drowning is the second leading cause of accidental and unintentional death in children under the age of 14.

"Going into the schools and teaching the kids is the nice part of our job," said Lutze. "The worst part is when we have an actual drowning."

At the end of the 45-minute program, each student was presented with an activities booklet, membership card and related materials.

"It is our hope that through training and education of children, they in turn will become more aware of their surroundings while participating in all water activities," said Lutze.

The Weston Elementary visit was coordinated by school gym and health teacher Colleen Finkbeiner.

"Splish Splash" is a product of the Seth Foundation based in Columbus, Georgia.

The program was instituted by a Georgia mother who lost her son in an accidental drowning, said Lutze.

The program is co-funded through grant money from Wal-Mart of Lapeer.

For more information, call the Lapeer County Sheriff's Department at 810-664-1801. Or contact Sgt. Lutze at 810-245-1441.

Staff Writer
Castle Creek
07 - 21 - 19
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