By Don Richards, NBC12 Regional Vice President and General Manager
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Thousands of people safely enjoyed boating and swimming over the Independence Day weekend in Virginia. It's that way every year.
But we have all heard the tragic news about the boating accidents and drowning deaths. Unfortunately that also happens every year. There are over 100 drowning deaths annually in Virginia, and nearly half are children under age 14.
In fact death by drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death for children in the U.S.
We have a beautiful river that runs right through Richmond and nearly every child who grows up here plays near the James at some point. Not to mention the numerous neighborhood swimming pools.
So give them a better chance to not be a statistic. The YMCAs of Richmond offer a number of swimming and water safety courses for kids starting as young as three years old.
The American Red Cross also offers a number of swimming and water safety programs for children and adults.
You can get more information at their web sites.
Parents...this really isn't an option. Pools, lakes and rivers are an enjoyable part of our life here. Teach your kids both the enjoyment and the respect for water safety.