Brandon Fletcher

For the majority of Americans, summer is for swimming. If you are anything like me, you befriended the kids who had pools when you were growing up. You know those are the best places to be during those long summer days. Even today, some of my closest friends have pools.

The siren's call of the water appeals to people everywhere.

This is why Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma (CASA) is focusing on water safety this month. We are dedicated to family stability so we want you and your family to enjoy activities all summer long without the fear of injury or something worse.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, "drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for children ages 1-14 years, and the fifth leading cause for people of all ages." It's clear the most popular of summer activities poses a threat to families of all ages.

The good news is pool and swimming safety is simple! Most of the tips you see are common sense: don't leave children unattended around any water, place a barrier around the pool, and use the buddy system when swimming. The list goes on, but you get the point.

There are, however, other tips that you may not know. According to Mario Vittone, a retired U.S. Coast Guard helicopter rescue swimmer, television does a great disservice to how drowning truly looks. Vittone asserts drowning is silent and hard to recognize for the untrained eye. "Of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. In 10 percent of those drownings, the adult will actually watch them do it, having no idea it is happening."

Those statistics are certainly jarring. The Red Cross offers simple ideas to ensure that does not happen to you or your family. First is to maintain constant supervision of children in the water. You should be within an arm's reach of small children. And perhaps the most important – avoid distractions when your children are in the water. You can post your Instagram story later.

Second, simply ask if they are alright. This may sound oversimplified, but if you ask your child and they don't or can't respond, you need to take action. Remember that drowning is a "silent killer". If they can respond they may need help, but they are not drowning.

Finally, for those who have a pool, keep yard toys far away from it or out of sight. Small children especially will be attracted to toys. If those toys are near water, a danger arises. Visit redcross.org for more great water tips.

Swimming is one of the best activities for all ages. I am sure you have many fond memories of growing up around a pool, pond, or lake. It's the goal of CASA to ensure your children have those good memories as well.

Are you passionate about the safety of children like we are? Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma is constantly on the lookout for dedicated volunteers who are passionate about kids and willing to speak up for their best interest.

By Brandon Fletcher – Marketing and Resource Development Coordinator - Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma

Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma/CASA

Child Advocates of Northeastern Oklahoma is a CASA agency that recruits, trains, and supports community volunteers to be the “voice” for abused and neglected children in the judicial system.

With offices in Claremore and Miami, the organization supports CASA volunteers in five counties in northeastern Oklahoma – Rogers, Mayes, Craig, Ottawa, and Delaware Counties. The agency also serves the courts of the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma.

Child Advocates of Northeastern Oklahoma is a member agency of the United Way of Rogers and Mayes Counties and the Ottawa County United Way.

People interested in learning more about CASA can find information about on the agency’s website: http://cano-casa.com/. To support the work of our CASA volunteers, go to http://cano-casa.com/ways-to-give/ and click on the “donate” button.