LIFEGUARD LAW: Mother seeks mandatory CPR, first-aid training - KMSP-TV

LIFEGUARD LAW: Mother seeks mandatory CPR, first-aid training

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

Although Minnesota lakes are still covered with ice, beaches will welcome swimmers in a few months -- and a new bill could change who can watch over them by setting new standards for lifeguard training.

The legislation is being called Tony Caine's Law, named after a 6-year-old boy who drowned in Wirth Lake, and it would make it mandatory for lifeguards at all public beaches to be trained in CPR and first aid.

"This is a stocking my mom designed for Christmas for him," Latoya Redmon demonstrated.

The photos, personal drawings and birthday cards are a few of the mementos Redmon displays in a glass cabinet to remind her of her son.

"Tony liked the math," she said. "He liked math and playing basketball."

Two summers ago, Redmon had left her son in the care of his two aunts and later found out he had drowned at Wirth Lake in Golden Valley.

"Everybody just kept telling me 'sorry,'" she recalled. "That's basically all I got for losing my child was a 'sorry.'"

Since then Redmon has made it her mission to raise safety awareness and lobby for consistent lifeguard safety standards.

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

Under current law, only lifeguards at public pools are required to be trained in first-aid and CPR. Redmon hopes Tony Caine's Law will change that, and author Rep. Mike Freiberg does too.

"This was just a gap that the state had somehow missed," he said. "I think it's probably just an oversight."

The bill has a long way to go before it becomes law, but even if it does, former lifeguard Mary Barber-Schmitz insists that parents and older adults play a critical role when it comes to water safety.

"Safety is everyone's responsibility, and everyone needs to kind of pitch in to ensure that there's adequate supervision, especially for children," she said.

The lifeguards at Wirth Lake are certified by the American Red Cross, which includes first aid and CPR training, but Redmon hopes the new law will add another layer of safety for others statewide.

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