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'Tony Caine's Law' would require more training for Minnesota lifeguards

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A grieving Minnesota mother is working to add a layer of safety at state public beaches in honor of her son, who was 6 when he drowned in Wirth Lake.

FOX 9 reports that Latoya Redmon has lobbied for a new bill that would set new and more consistent standards for lifeguard training. The legislation is called Tony Caine's Law in honor of the boy, who died in August of 2012. It would make it mandatory for lifeguards at all public beaches to be trained in CPR and first aid. Under current law, only lifeguards at public pools are required to be trained in first-aid and CPR.

"I just wanted to do something in memory of him," Redmon said.

You can read a copy of the bill here. It is sponsored by Rep. Mike Freiberg, DFL-Golden Valley. "This was just a gap that the state had somehow missed," he said. "I think it's probably just an oversight."

The Star Tribune published a story at the time of the drowning. The story said that a bystander spotted spotted Caine lying on the bottom of the lake in about 4 feet of water not far from shore. He had been taken to the beach by two relatives. "The bystander began CPR as the lead lifeguard on duty raced to the beach house to call 911 and send a second lifeguard to begin mouth-to-mouth resuscitation efforts," it said. Dawn Sommers, spokeswoman for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Department, said that two lifeguards were on duty at the time, an adequate number to supervise the 30 to 35 people in the water at the time.

The FOX 9 story noted that lifeguards at Wirth Lake are certified by the American Red Cross, which includes first aid and CPR training.

Earlier this winter, supervision at pools at public schools came under review following two deaths, including a 12-year-old boy who drowned at a St. Louis Park middle school and a teenager who died following a physical education in a pool at Fargo South High School.
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