Losing a child for any reason is one of the most devastating ordeals a parent can go through. And swimming, with all its fun, can be an extremely dangerous activity for children if they’re not properly supervised.
Did you know: Texas is #1 for pool drowning deaths and Tarrant County is top 3 in Texas for total and per capita pediatric drowning deaths, according to the Fort Worth Drowning Prevention Coalition.
In fact, just half-way through 2017, child drownings in Texas are up from last year. 38 drownings have already been reported. Cook Children’s Hospital has dealt with 11 drownings just this summer alone, which is almost unfathomable considering the season just started.
Obviously, these are terrifying trends, so as part of our Summer Safety Series, Patterson Law Group is looking into some of the possible causes & how we can prevent these tragedies from happening.
2017 Statistics on Drownings
Our area’s lakes and pools are popular places for fun in the sunshine, but are also the places where kids are most likely to drown.
So far this year, Harris County has seen 4 child drownings (all in backyard or community pools), and Bell, Brazoria, Hidalgo and Tarrant counties have each seen 2 child drownings (in pools or lakes). Most child drownings this year, have occurred in pools, followed by lakes or ponds.
Cook Children’s reports that through June 8, 2017, it has treated 20 children for drowning, including 1 death.
An Ongoing Problem
We spoke with Sharon Evans, who is the Trauma Injury Prevention Coordinator at Cook Children’s Hospital to learn more about recent trends & how we can keep our children safe. She told us that in 2016, Cook Children’s Trauma department saw 35 children taken into the hospital for drowning. Of those, 23 occurred in June. Tragically, 5 of those children died (3 in June).
On average three to four children per year survive a near-drowning at Cook Children’s, but live with life-altering brain injury caused by a lack of oxygen.
Watch Kids Around Water
Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death for children less than 5 years of age, and its also the most preventable. Little ones less than 3 years of age are especially at risk. Kids this small can drown in nearly any amount of water, which means adults must supervise around kiddie pools and tubs, despite the shallow depth. It only takes a few short minutes for children to drown, and everyone must remain diligent in keeping all eyes on children while around water.
It may seem obvious to watch kids around water, but sometimes adults think they can turn their heads for just a couple of seconds to tend to something else. When kids and water combine, there isn’t room for eyes on anything but the child. Remember that children will not likely use caution near water, and they shouldn’t have to be the ones responsible for their own safety.
Tips for Outdoor Water Safety
Parents and all other caregivers need to learn and review lifeguard 101 skills to keep kids safe around water. These survival basics include:
- Constantly keeping eyes on children when playing near water or swimming — This means put the phone away. It’s just not worth it.
- Getting what’s needed before a child is near water or removing the child to tend to other matters
- Only allowing children to go to a friend’s pool if there’s a lifeguard or responsible adult to watch kids the entire time
- Reminding daycare providers that kids require constant supervision near any amount of water
- Ensuring small children can’t leave the house to get to lakes, ponds or pools unsupervised
- Removing cleaning machines and pool covers when pools are in use. When not in use, pools should be gated shut and protected by an alarm
- Review infant and child CPR guidelines.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of an adult or organization who didn’t properly watch your child, we would like to speak with you. Fill out the contact form on this page, and a personal injury attorney at Patterson Law Group will be in touch to let you know if we can help your family.