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Submitted by on Sun, 06/08/2008 - 5:33pm.

It's summertime and for many that means more time in the water. But taking a dip can be deadly, especially for young children. The national center for health statistics reports that unintentional drowning kills more than eight hundred thirty children under fourteen each year. At summer safety day in Wilmington on Saturday, water safety was a popular topic. “Think so that you don't sink,” said water safety instructor Allie Dibbasi, who lectured parents and their children about swimming safely. “When you're swimming and exhausted, in an area where you can't stand, you need to roll over, float on your back, [and] take a break.” Other important tips are if someone is struggling, try to help them ashore before jumping in yourself. And NEVER leave a child unattended. “You always need to be within an arm's length from your child,” said Dibbasi. “By putting on a floatation device, it doesn't give you authority to walk away and think that they'll float.” In fact, Dibbasi says relying on flotation devices in general is usually a bad idea. She says it's crucial to make sure children are comfortable in the water before they jump in. “Give your child swim lessons. It's the greatest gift you can give,” she said. “Swimming and water safety is a life skill. Every child and adult should have that gift.” Dibassi also says it's very important to wear sunscreen. If you're going to be in the water, you need to re-apply every two hours.

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