Louisville kids may be required to wear life jackets when swimming in public
LOUISVILLE, KY (WDRB) –- A series of drownings has prompted Louisville lawmakers to take action. One councilwoman has a plan she hopes will save lives.
A proposed ordinance would require children under 13 to wear a life jacket if they are swimming in the river, or any public waterway in the city. It's a proposal some say won't immediately solve the problem.
At the Jewish Community Center, when it comes to swimming, instructors believe the sooner you get your child in the water, the better. There are classes for infants as young as two months old.
"Life jackets and floaties aren't always available, so we like to focus on safety and teaching the kids how to save themselves," said Aquatic Director Liz Stumper.
Investigators say that may have been the case with two-and-a-half-year-old Christina Norris. The toddler drowned in the Ohio River in late July. Police said she was not wearing a life jacket.
"I am surprised since we are a river city, and have been all these hundreds of years, that there hasn't been some sort of public safety effort to require this when people are in the river," said Metro Councilwoman Vicki Aubrey Welch.
Welch wants to change that. She has filed an ordinance that would require all kids under 13 to wear a life jacket; not only on boats, but when they are swimming in rivers, creeks and streams. Parents who don't comply would be fined $100.
"If people know that there is a consequence, that'll make them buy that ten dollar life jacket to put on their kid and save a life," said Welch.
Jewish Community swim instructors say the requirement is a good idea, but not a cure-all. They say a life-jacket isn't a replacement for swim lessons.
"It also provides a crutch for the kids because they think they're invincible and they can just go in any body of water," said Stumper.
The proposed ordinance will be up for discussion during the August 11 Metro Council Meeting.
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