Teaming up for drowning prevention in Lowndes County

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - There have already been six drowning deaths in Lowndes County this year.

Coroner Austin Fiveash is teaming up with the Valdosta YMCA to keep others from falling victim.

Fiveash wants to reinforce to parents the power of paying attention and make sure everyone knows the signs of drowning.

"A lot of times where the parents come out to the pool, watch the kids for a little while, and then they pass the supervision duties off to a teenager or to another family member, who then needs a restroom break and then they pass it to someone else, and the accountability gets lost," said Fiveash.

Valdosta YMCA's Physical Director Randy Gaytan says the signs of drowning aren't like what you see in the movies.
They're often silent and happen within a matter of minutes.

"Drowning is not like you see on TV," said Gaytan. If they are active and splashing around, they're a distressed swimmer. If they get past that point and turns to a drowning, they have no energy, they'll have a hair in their eyes because they just don't have strength to wipe it out of their eyes, head back, working towards's silent."

Fiveash says Lowndes County could end up being one of the highest rates of drowning in the state this year if action isn't taken quickly.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says drowning is the leading cause of death in young children in the United States, second only to birth defects.

The CDC said two of the biggest factors that contribute to those statistics are not knowing how to swim and not wearing a life jacket.

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