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Summer vacation has just begun, but three children have already drowned at Israel's beaches. On Monday, a 9-year-old girl drowned at the Dalila beach in Ashkelon. Two other children lost their lives this week in other drowning incidents in the north.

One mother who had taken her two small boys to a beach in Haifa yesterday and had read about the tragedy in Ashkelon told Haaretz: "I don't understand how such a thing can happen. Children can't be left alone in the water. At home, too, everywhere, they should always be accompanied by an adult."

Some parents are apparently not so careful, according to Drori Nimtzki, a lifeguard with 22 years of experience: "A lot more children come to the beach during the summer, and parents don't always understand the dangers that exist along the seashore. They think if there is someone in charge at the lifeguard station, he will solve their babysitting problem, and they can sit on the beach with their coffee or beer."

Nimtzki noted that children can drown even right along the shoreline, with their parents sitting 10 meters away. The children can encounter holes in the sand, currents or strong waves. "When you point that out to parents," Nimtzki said, "they say they are there watching their children, but they are not at all aware of the dangers that their children are exposed to. A child can drown in a bathtub. All the more so at the beach. That's why we ask parents to go into the water with their children." The lifeguard added that "you also have to deal with children who run into deep water and you may not notice them, because you are concentrating on those closer to shore."