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Drownings an all too frequent tragic occurrence

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Published on Jul 3, 2013

Unfortunately there are a lot of drownings in the summer. But authorities say most of those cases could have been prevented.

"I've had 19 saves in my career," said Erika North, head lifeguard at the Elm Creek Park Preserve pool. "We do our best but it also really helps if parents do keep an eye on their children."

According to the Centers for Prevention and Disease Control, drowning is the number one cause of accidental death for children ages 1 to 4 years old.

Experts recommend two simple tips to keep your children safe.

1) Use the touch supervision method: your child is within arms reach at all times.

2) Have others help you

"I'm here with some other parents so it helps coming in numbers," said Megan Moss, a nanny.

But sometimes even those precautions are not enough. Experts say many children drown even when a parent is present. They say parents often become distracted, talking on the phone or reading a book.

"Sometimes parents automatically assume that we're like babysitters," said North.

Parent Nicole Nyberg said she's trying to be better about talking on the cell phone while at the pool.

"I make sure I'm not on my phone the whole time while I'm here," Nyberg said. "I always have a fear of my kid drowning."

"I try not to text or go on any of the social media websites and stuff while they're in the water, "said another parent, Kayli Sparks.

The Red Cross also recommends young and inexperienced swimmers wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.

Sonya Goins, reporting

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12 News is on Comcast cable channel 12 in the northwest suburbs of Minneapolis and includes the cities Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Crystal, Golden Valley, Maple Grove, New Hope, Osseo, Plymouth and Robbinsdale.

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