Our Opinion: Painful reminder to be cautious around water

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Tragedy struck quickly last weekend at the Lahontan Reservoir when 6-year-old Apollo Fuller drowned at the popular lake.

While his death affects us all in different ways, we can never lose sight that a young human life with many years ahead of him will not be able to experience any additional, carefree days of childhood.

Being a parent or grandparent is a tough job, and those of us who have children know how quickly they can move - in a fraction of a second or minutes - when we least expect it.

Thus, the expression of having eyes in the back of our head seems more than appropriate.

Nevertheless, the lakes, rivers and canals of Nevada and California can be cruel, and we can never take anything for granted.

Drowning, according to the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, remains second only to motor accidents as the leading cause of unintentional, injury-related deaths among children.

But the wicked waves and currents do not discriminate against age. The past three years tell similar stories:

• Two Northern Californians both in their 20s - one a 1995 graduate of South Lake Tahoe High School - drowned in river-related accidents.

• A 41-year-old New York City firefighter jumped into Lake Tahoe at Sand Harbor State Park trying to save his son who was struggling in the lake's choppy water. The father drowned. The 10-year-old boy survived.

• Another former South Tahoe student, age 20, drowned in Lake Tahoe near Timber Cove Pier.

• A 54-year-old man who was not wearing a life jacket fell into Lake Tahoe from his sailboat and drowned in 20 feet of water several hundred yards from the Tahoe Keys channel.

• And a 46-year-old man fell overboard from his boat at Pyramid Lake and drowned. He wasn't wearing a life jacket, either.

Many Web sites with useful information offer universal recommendations: Never swim alone; select a supervised area; learn to swim; wear a life preserver; don't drink alcohol; use extra precaution if taking medication; know the limitations of any medical condition; be aware of the natural bodies of water, swift current, deep water or sudden drop-offs; and avoid drainage ditches and arroyos.

• Editorial is by the LVN Editorial staff.


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