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How to Keep Kids Safe in Pools and Lakes

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a pool with a metal railing

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.

From Memorial Day through Labor Day 2017*, at least 163 children younger than age 15 fatally drowned in swimming pools or spas, according to

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

2022 Statistics on Drownings

Our area’s lakes and pools are popular places for fun in the sunshine and where kids are most likely to drown. Through the first half of 2022, Texas saw 48 child drowning deaths. Ten of those deaths occurred in Harris County. Most child drownings have occurred in pools, followed by bathtubs, beaches, or ponds.

An Ongoing Problem

Sharon Evans, the Trauma Injury Prevention Coordinator at Cook Children’s Hospital, spoke about these recent trends and how we can keep our children safe.  She said that in 2016, Cook Children’s Trauma Department saw 35 children taken into the hospital for drowning—and five died tragically. On average, three to four children per year survive a near-drowning at Cook Children’s Hospital, but some live with a 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 under five years of age, and it’s also the most preventable. Little ones less than three years of age are especially at risk. Kids this small can drown in shallow water, so adults must always supervise around kiddie pools and tubs. It only takes a few minutes for children to drown–everyone must remain diligent. Further, adults sometimes think they can turn their heads for just a few seconds to tend to something else, but they can’t. Children won’t exercise caution in the water.

Water Safety Facts

The following water safety facts make it clear how important it is to prevent accidents.

  • Drowning is a leading cause of death. When it comes to small children, drowning is one of the most common causes of death. The risk of drowning is much higher for children under 14 than for adults. According to the Red Cross, drowning is the leading cause of death among children with autism.
  • Many drownings happen during family gatherings. Most parents assume their children are safe in the water when family members are present. Unfortunately, around one out of every four drownings occur during family reunions or gatherings.
  • Drowning can happen quickly. It does not take a child long to drown. In some cases, it can take as little as 20 seconds. This limited time to respond increases the risk of a fatality.

Drowning Prevention Tips

There are steps you can take to prevent a child from drowning. For homeowners, these steps would protect their children and those who live nearby. Some important tips to consider:

  • Keep your pool covered when not in use
  • Build a fence around your pool to keep children from entering without permission.
  • Don’t leave toys in the area surrounding the pool.
  • Teach your children how to float on their backs in the pool before they can swim.
  • Learn CPR.
  • Set up a pool alarm system.
  • Explain the importance of avoiding the pool without an adult present.

Tips for Outdoor Water Safety

Parents and caregivers should learn and review Lifeguard 101 skills to keep kids safe around water. These survival basics include:

  • Put your phone away. It’s not worth it.
  • Get what you need before your child is near the water or remove them to tend to other matters.
  • Allow children to go to a friend’s pool only if there’s a lifeguard or responsible adult.
  • Reminding daycare providers that kids require constant supervision.
  • Children who cannot swim should wear life jackets.
  • Ensure that small children can’t leave the house to get to lakes, ponds, or pools.
  • Remove pool covers when they 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 Fort Worth personal injury attorney at Patterson Law Group will contact you to let you know if we can help your family.

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