Spending time in the water during the hot summer months is supposed to be a fun activity, but there are dangers as well.
On Saturday morning, June 2, United Way of Bedford County, the Shelbyville Parks and Recreation and the Shelbyville Fire Department hosted the Matthew G. Woods Memorial Water Safety Day at the pools at the rec center located at H.V. Griffin Park. Woods father, Bill, is a firefighter.
The event, the 10th annual edition, attracted 110 participants. It was free to register and participate. Everyone who registered before 9 a.m. was allowed to swim for free the rest of the day.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, “of all the swimming pool accidents involving small children, 77 percent of the victims had been seen by a parent/guardian within the past five minutes before the accident.”
In addition to water safety education, the event also featured a variety of activities, swimming pool games, and music. A large number of prizes were awarded as well to those who completed all the learning stations. “It is serious, but it is also fun for participants,” Pam Henry, parks, and recreation assistant director said. “Knowing how to be safe in the water is important for everyone, especially children.”
She stresses preventive measures are essential to protect families through the knowledge of procedures to prevent drowning from occurring.
Henry, a primary organizer of the event, and Adam Williams, the new aquatic coordinator, was also actively involved in the coordination and execution of the event. Members of the National Honor Society at Shelbyville Central High School served as volunteers assisting in numerous areas, including registration.
Water Safety Day is held each year in memory of Matthew G. Woods, who died at the age of two in August of 2008 in a pool at his aunt’s house in Chapel Hill. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, “every day, about ten people die from unintentional drowning. The website adds that “of these, two are children aged 14 or younger”. The CDC website also states, “Drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States and is the second-leading cause of injury-related deaths for children.
United Way of Bedford County thanks Henry, Williams, the lifeguard staff, the Shelbyville Fire Department, Dawn Hobbs and Claudia House, sponsor of the Shelbyville Central High School National Honor Society for their assistance.