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The nation’s acting Defense Secretary is under investigation for promoting Boeing, his former employer. Also on the Thursday rundown: The Trump administration’s spending blueprint being called a “bully budget.” Plus, a call for the feds to protect consumers from abusive lenders.

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Children More at Risk of Drowning in Arkansas

Children are more at risk of drowning in Arkansas than adults, and research shows life jackets save lives. (
Children are more at risk of drowning in Arkansas than adults, and research shows life jackets save lives. (
May 27, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Boating season is about to kick into high gear on waterways around the state, and officials are urging Indiana swimmers and boating enthusiasts to take the proper precautions to stay safe.

According to the Arkansas Infant and Child Death Review Program at Arkansas Children's Hospital, the state ranks seventh in the United States for drowning-related deaths among children younger than 17, a figure that is 60 percent higher than the national average.

Sgt. Al Bavarska with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources' Marine Safety Law Enforcement Division said most people who drown in a boating or personal-watercraft accident would be alive if they had been wearing a life jacket.

"Most of the boaters comply with the law, but their life jackets are either stored, inaccessible and they can't be reached," he said. "If they're wearing their jacket, that would avoid most fatalities on the water."

One life jacket is required for each person on a watercraft, and kids younger than age 6 must be wearing one at all times. On a personal watercraft or jet ski, a life jacket is required for those riding or being towed. Many boating accidents involve the use of alcohol, and Bavarska said it's illegal for anyone to operate a boat or personal watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

"One bottle of beer or can of beer or prescription drugs can affect your operation abilities when you're navigating on the water," he said, "compounded with the sun beating on you, or the cold weather or just a rough sea."

Before heading out on the water for the season, he said, boaters should ensure that the equipment on their vessels is operating correctly, including the battery, fire extinguisher and navigational lights.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - AR