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Lifeguards urge water safety as more head to the pool

With temperatures rising quickly, many are planning on going to swim. But, with more people hitting the water, lifeguards in the state are urging safety.

MAUMELLE, Ark. — With temperatures on the rise in Arkansas, more people will be diving in the swimming pools.

While you are having fun, lifeguards like Lillian Hamlin want you to keep safety at the front of your mind as more head to the water.

"Before you know it, you could be in the 3-feet [water], and then you're swimming for 5 minutes and you could be in the 10-feet water and you wouldn't even know it," Hamlin said.

While major rescues haven't happened since she's been on staff at the Maumelle Aquatic Center, she said preventable incidents do happen.

"I've had a patron come up to me before and asked if he should go off the diving board and I asked if he could swim and he said yes. Then, I proceeded to watch him go off and [he] couldn't swim," Hamlin said.

According to the CDC, drowning is the leading cause of death for children between the ages of 1 and 14.  

Nearly 4,000 people die from unintentional drownings every year.

"I think a lot of the time, people tend to overestimate what they can do and not really know [what] their actual skill set," Hamlin said.

Her best advice is simple enough-- keep roughhousing to a minimum while in the pool and be aware of your own swimming skills.

She also suggesting talking with lifeguards to see what areas of the pool are shallow and deep.

"It's really good for parents to go ahead and let us know what their kids' skill set is," Hamlin said.

The lifeguards also go the extra mile when it comes to swim safety.

They teach a 2 week class for 3-10 year-olds during the summer, showing how kids can stay safe while in the pool.

"Whenever the parents are signing them up, they write down what their kids [are] capable of. From going underwater, to being able to paddle, [and] to being able to blow bubbles and such," Hamlin said.

The goal, she said, is by the second week, the beginners are comfortable in the water.

These lessons run all the way until July.

For Hamline, it's a lesson that could potentially save lives.

"So many people come out here and they don't know their limits and it ends up putting them and others in situations that are hard to get out of," said Hamlin.

The lifeguards go through training every Monday to help keep swimmers safe.

So far this summer, they haven't had to make any rescues. 

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