CORPUS CHRISTI — As we enter the extended holiday weekend, many families are planning to celebrate with a dip in the pool or a trip to the beach or a lake. According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, remaining vigilant while in or near the water is not only a good practice, it is one that can save lives.
Across the state this year, there have been 45 reports of child water fatalities – two of which have been in the Coastal Bend.
By keeping a few things in mind, parents and caregivers can help prevent accidents before they happen. It is important to learn CPR, keep emergency numbers handy, and pay attention to the tips found at the website www.watchkidsaroundwater.org:
- 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.
Teach Water Survival Skills and Ensure a Child Can:
- 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.
Stay Alert 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.
Stay Alert 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.
South Texas temperatures make swimming an activity that can be done nearly year-round, making heightened water safety a must.