COPY-Many Children Who Drown are Under Adult Supervision

Hundreds of families are heading out to East Texas lakes for the Memorial Day weekend.

For adults with young children, the busy lake can make it hard to keep a close eye on their children. A swim in the lake can mean big fun for small children, but fun can quickly change to fatal, even when an adult eye is near.

Recent research from the National SAFE KIDS Campaign shows that 9 out of 10 children who drown between ages 1 and 14, were under some sort of supervision when they died.

Guardians often read a book, chat with friends, or face other distractions that can be deadly when young children are in the water.

Mother of 4, Kelly Martin, said she normally brings reading materials with her to the lake, but her focus is solely on her children when they are in the water.

"I have a book, if they come in," she said. "If they are out in the water, I have it set down, so I can watch them."

When windy conditions are involved, play can be even more dangerous. A child can be swept away under water in only a matter of seconds.

"A lot of this wave action, not just from the boats but from the wind, it can overtake somebody," said Game Warden Chris Green. "It can take the legs right from under them, and these kids can go out above their heads really quick."

Beverly Santee keeps a watchful eye not just on her 3 grandchildren, but on all the children playing in the water. She said she's watchful because many times other adults are not.

"There are so many kids that are just out in the water and people are not paying attention," she said. "So when you see one go under you kind of wonder what's going on, they could be playing, they could be drowning."

Lifejackets or other floatation devices can prevent children from drowning, and should be used at all times, even in shallow areas.

"Its a good idea during windy conditions in some of these swimming areas to go ahead and wear floatation," said Chris Green.

A floatation device and a constant and vigilant eye, can often times save a child from drowning.

Over 900 children between ages 1 and 14 die in the United States each year in drowning accidents.

Story by Maya Golden