This Time of Year Brings Increase In Drownings: Local Woman Talks Water Safety After Tragedy

Local News

“Everyone thinks it’s not going to happen to them until it does. It only takes seconds. It is silent,”

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD)– Many will be out in the water with Summer days near and Memorial Day just around the corner, however water safety shouldn’t be taken lightly. 

Baton Rouge Resident Gwen Cotton said, “I was very sick to my stomach.”

In 2013, Cotton lost two family members to a drowning in the family pool, one being her sister and the other being her sister’s grandson.

Gwen’s Sister and her Sister’s Grandson

She said, “It’s pretty surreal. It’s hard to explain it, but anyone who has had a tragic phone call or something tragic that happens to you. You’ll never forget it.”

She believes her sister had a medical emergency while swimming and the three-year-old attempted to save her life.

“He went in to get her, but they don’t know they can’t swim,” said Cotton.

Through this tragedy came light, and her light was in the form of a book illustrating the importance of water safety.

“Petey & Murray Go For A Swim” Witten By Gwen Cotton. “Reach or Throw. Don’t Go!”

She said, “If I can save one child then it did its job, but I want to save many.”

Experts said drownings and water- related deaths are common this time of year.

Baton Rouge Clinic Pediatrician Dr. Elizabeth Seiter explained, “There’s definitely an increase in drownings in the summer because more kids are swimming. More pool parties, more parties involving an adult.”

They all agreed that now is the time to talk about water safety.

Dr. Seiter said, “Swimming lessons at age four and above is a must. Children do need to know how to swim and survive in the water.”

ISR Certified Instructor Lauren Wilt said, “to have layers of protection which includes parental supervision.”

Having a designated a water watcher could help, especially for pool parties and pool events.

“Everyone thinks it’s not going to happen to them until it does. It only takes seconds. It is silent,” said Wilt.

To purchase Gwen’s book for your child you can click here.

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