Preventing Unsupervised Access to Water Can Save Kids’ Lives
Hey Texans! Can I have your attention please?
Did you know that as of this article being written, a total of 38 children have drowned in Texas so far since January 1, 2019? That is a roughly 6 child a month average.
Last year, 91 children drowned in Texas. In 2017, 75 kids drowned in Texas. In 2016, a whopping 175 kids died as a result of drowning in Texas. In all but one of those years, Harris County has led the way with the most drowning deaths in Texas.
Just last month, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez posted a message on his Twitter page featuring 91 swimsuits that represented the aforementioned 91 children who drowned in Texas in 2018, with 23 of those kids having drowned in Harris County. His Twitter message read:
These 91 swim suits represent the number of child drowning deaths in Texas last year. They span all ages. 23 were in Harris County, 4 already this year. A drowning can happen anywhere to anyone. @HCSOTexas encourages everyone to practice water safety.
Sadly, since the beginning of 2019, Harris County finds itself once again at the top of the list with 8 children having drowned in 2019. Fort Bend County is second on the list in 2019, with 3 children having drowned. Out of the 11 kids who have drowned in those two counties, 7 of them drowned in either a backyard, community-based or an apartment pool.
Just this month alone, a 3-year-old boy in Sugar Land, Texas, died as a result of drowning after a family member took off the floaties he was wearing so they could leave to go eat. According to investigators, the boy sat down near the pool, fell into it and was submerged underwater for only a couple of minutes before someone even noticed he had fallen in the pool.
Several days later, a 2-year-old boy from Missouri City, Texas, drowned after he made his way to the backyard and fell into the family pool. The father, who had been asleep at the time, realized when he woke up that the baby was missing. After checking the pool, the father noticed the baby floating and tried to perform CPR on the child, but it was too late.
As you can see, drowning is a major issue in Texas, and with swimming season having already started, it is important that we are cognizant about doing all we possibly can to ensure the safety of our little ones this summer.
According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, drowning is a leading cause of accidental death for kids under the age of five and toddlers are especially at risk.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths for children 1 to 14 years of age and kills more children ages 1 to 4 than anything else except for birth defects.
On average, three children die each day from drowning. Drowning risks vary by age, whereas children younger than 1 year old are more likely to drown at home. Children between 1 and 4 years of age are more likely to drown in a home swimming pool or spa. Children that are 5 to 17 years old are more likely to drown in natural water, such as a pond or lake.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission states that nearly 70 percent of young kids who drowned in swimming pools were not expected to be in the pool or even at the pool.
Through their website (www.helpandhope.org/Water_Safety), they give some key tips to help parents and guardians, do their best to protect their children around water. They want parents and guardians to always remember that they should never assume children will use caution and to watch kids around water at all times. Here are some of their most important tips:
A responsible adult should always supervise children in or around water. Keep new swimmers and non-swimmers within arm’s reach.
Make sure the adult knows CPR and has a phone to dial 9-1-1.
Have floatation devices available to use in a rescue (ones that can reach and float).
Drowning is quick and quiet. The adult should be undistracted at all times.
Share rules with anyone who may watch your child.
Inside the House
Never leave small children alone near any container of water, including tubs, buckets, toilets or aquariums. Drain buckets and baths when done. A child can drown in as little as 2 inches of water.
Keep bathroom doors closed and secure toilet lids with locks.
Never leave young children alone in or around the bath. Drownings can happen in even tiny amounts of water.
Get what you need before filling the tub. If you need to leave the room, take the child with you.
Make sure children cannot leave the house to get to pools or hot tubs.
Outside the House
Never leave children alone in or around water (pools, kiddie pools, lakes, creeks, buckets, beaches, ponds or drainage ditches).
Constantly watch children when swimming or playing near water. They need a certified lifeguard or responsible adult within reach.
When pool is in use, completely remove pool covers and cleaning machines.
Secure the area around the pool with a fence, self-closing gate and alarms.
Find out if your child’s friends or neighbors have pools at their homes.
Do not allow children to swim in any water after heavy rains or flooding.
Teach Water Survival Skills
Sign up your child for swim lessons. Make sure they are taught to:
Return to the surface if they fall in over their head.
Float or tread water.
Turn in a circle in the water and look for an exit.
Swim 25 yards (75 feet).
Get out of the pool without using the ladder.
According to the YMCA of Greater Houston, parents should teach children how to swim and how be safe around water, and they strongly encourage all parents to make it one of the most important life skills they help their children learn growing up. They have some extremely important tips that they are offering parents and guardians as well:
6 Steps to Water Safety
Know that any depth of water is dangerous
Place barriers around water
Always designate or be a water watcher – be diligent!
Remember drowning is quiet and quick
Learn water rescue skills and CPR
Take formal swimming lessons
Whether it be indoors or outdoors, drowning can happen in almost any amount of water, at any time. Honestly, it truly only takes a couple of minutes for a child to drown in water, whether it be inside or outside of their home.
One of the ways to avoid these types of unfortunate tragedies related to drowning, is by making sure no child is ever left unattended or unsupervised around water, no matter where they are.
To learn more about information about preventing unsupervised access to water, please visit www.watersafetyusa.org, and to find additional water safety resources, please visit www.ymcahouston.org/eliminate-drowning.