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After 4 children nearly drown, Hennepin Co. urges precautions

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Four young children nearly drowned in separate incidents in Hennepin County over the weekend, and the sheriff's office is now urging Minnesotans to be careful on the water.

“Thankfully no lives were lost during these incidents because any one of them could have ended in a tragedy," Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek said. "It was a challenging weekend for first responders, but it serves as a reminder to take safety precautions when young children are near the water.”

According to the sheriff's office:

On Saturday, a 5-year-old girl was pulled from a hotel swimming pool in Plymouth. First responders were able to resuscitate the girl.

Later that afternoon in St. Anthony, two girls – 7 and 9 years old – were rescued from a pool at an apartment complex. The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.

And on Sunday afternoon, a 7-year-old girl was pulled unresponsive from a pool at a Plymouth apartment complex.

All four victims were transported to nearby hospitals for treatment.

In Ohio, a police body camera recently captured dramatic footage of an officer performing chest compressions on a 2-year-old boy who fell into a backyard swimming pool and was pulled from the water unresponsive. KFOR reports the officer and the young boy's aunt were able to resuscitate the toddler – who is now doing just fine, despite the scary incident.

The Cleveland Police Department uploaded the raw video to its YouTube page.

http://youtu.be/xVMnmDctWpM

Laws and safety tips

The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office says drowning is "quiet" and quick – someone struggling in the water does not yell for help or wave their arms, and serious brain injury can occur in minutes.

In 70 percent of child drownings, one or both parents were nearby. They suggest avoiding distractions (such as cellphones or chatting with other adults) and making sure you can always see a swimming child, the sheriff's office says.

Life jackets are not required while swimming in lakes, pools or anywhere else. But children under the age of 10 are required by law to wear a life jacket when boating, and all occupants must have access to a life jacket, the DNR says.

A recent study found mandatory life jacket laws can significantly reduce drowning deaths compared to voluntary life jacket laws.

Statistics

Hennepin County Sheriff''s Office Public Information Officer Jennifer Johnson says there haven't been any drowning deaths in the county so far in 2014. There were 13 total last year – eight in lakes and five in pools.

Statewide there have been 13 non-boating drownings through July 16 of 2014, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Boat and Water Safety Specialist Kara Owens says. You can see a detailed list of those incidents here.

The DNR has statewide drowning statistics dating back to 1945. The total number of non-boating drownings has gone down each of the last three years, from 50 in 2011, to 40 in 2012, to 30 last year.

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