MINNEAPOLIS - The deputies of Hennepin County are not only keeping track of drowning fatalities in the county this year, they're also tracking near drowning incidents.
Six people have drowned in the state's most populated county this year.
"What's more important is that we've had 14 near drowning (incidents) in Hennepin County. Those are the ones that kind of slip by without ever getting reported," Major Darrell Huggett tells KARE 11.
Huggett says it underscores the fact that parents simply aren't watching their kids in the water.
"That's the misperception, (that) it's the big event with the screaming and the flailing and the splashing. It's a silent killer. You can slip under just that fast," the major warned.
He said a child can go under as a parent turns his or her head.
"It's a matter of seconds, if they get that big gulp of water, with no air in your lungs, you're going to the bottom that fast," Huggett said.
Huggett is urging parents to put down their phones and magazines. He also hopes they'll close their eyes and sun tan some time when their kids are not in the water. He also urges them to pull their kids out of the water and take a break every once in awhile.
The parents who bring their kids to the beach at Lake Elmo Preserve have to do that for 10 minutes, every hour. They're called safety breaks. When every person is out of the swimming hole, safety messages for kids and parents are reiterated.
Jessica Klecatski brought her five kids to the beach. She was also keeping track of five other children.
"It's hard actually because you've got to keep watching them. There are other people here to help me watch," she said.
There were actually four adults watching the 10 kids, and the kids were also told to swim in groups and watch out for each other in the water.
Huggett would tell you to follow their lead.
"We need parents to visually see these children all the time," he concluded.
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