Texas currently leads the nation drowning accidents involving children, and Harris County is their most common location. When a drowning accident happens, a typical day of fun in the sun is quickly transformed into a nightmare. Drowning accidents are preventable, and education is enough to prevent these tragedies from happening.
According to the Help and Hope Organization, 40 children have already lost their lives in drowning accidents throughout the state. In Harris County alone, eight children have died because of a drowning accident. Summer is just days away, and the hottest days are still on the horizon for Texas. As activity around local pools increases, it’s crucial that residents throughout the state remember just how dangerous water can be.
Why Do Drowning Accidents Happen?
The most frightening aspect of drowning is the fact that it can happen to anyone at any time. It takes just seconds for a child to suffer severe injuries from falling into a pool or any other body of water.
“It happened to us because we didn’t know how dangerous water can be. We didn’t understand the risks,” said Mark Brown in a comment to Click2Houston.
Brown and his wife Christi lost their son Judah because of a drowning accident in 2016. Judah was just three years old when he passed away after falling into a pool, and his parents were just feet away as the accident occurred. Judah was wearing floaties earlier in the day but had taken them off after a previous swimming session. What he wasn’t missing when he got into the pool was the false sense of confidence his floaties provided him. Without his swimming aides, the young boy confidently entered the water to swim. It was too late to save him by the time someone noticed at the bustling backyard event.
Today, the Browns now run the Judah Brown Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to warning parents and children about the dangers of drowning. The organization creates drowning prevention brochures and encourages parents to provide children with swimming lessons as early as possible.
The Judah Brown Project emphasizes the following drowning statistics:
- Children between one and four are the most common victims of drowning.
- Most children between the ages of one and four drown in home swimming pools.
- Drowning is the leading cause of death for children between the ages of one and four.
How to Prevent Drowning Accidents
Young children should never be left alone in a pool, even if they are wearing floatation devices. Importantly, if your child is missing, always check any nearby pools first. Though they might not be there, a pool presents the most risk to a missing child. Just seconds could make a difference between life and death for a drowning child. Additionally, always ensure that someone is dedicated to watching a pool at all times during backyard events.
Pools should be covered on every side by a barrier that prevents children from reaching the water on their own. These barriers should be at least five feet in height and should have a self-locking gate, which is difficult for children to open even while unlocked.
Install alarm systems on all doors and windows of your home. Be sure to remember that doggie doors might provide unintended access for children to your backyard. Additionally, the barricade around a pool should be equipped with an alarm which sounds anytime it is opened. For extra security, companies manufacture alarms which are designed to sound whenever someone enters a pool's water.
Children should learn how to swim at an early age. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that children receive swimming lessons at the age of four when their body is developmentally ready for swimming. However, the group does not oppose starting aquatic education even earlier in a child’s life. If a child is too young to swim, they can learn survival techniques to help them if they ever find themselves in water. Additionally, becoming CPR certified is a great way to protect the safety of those who use your pool.