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Backyard pool drownings can happen quickly 

Posted: 7:29 AM, Feb 12, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-12 08:34:25-05

Winter months are shown to be dangerous for children when it comes to near drowning and drowning across the state.

In the past few years, 8 percent of winter drownings turned fatal, compared to 2 percent being fatal in the summer months.

There has been a recent increase in pool drownings, and a lot of these drownings could have been prevented.

Pools are a part of our South Texas landscape, but residential pools have a dangerous side when it comes to young children, even during the winter months.

“In Texas and in South Texas, water activity is almost a year-round event. So we want to use caution all year round because not only pools are dangerous, but other bodies of water such as bathtubs inside a home,” said Texas Department of Family Protective Services media specialist John Lennan.

Young children drown when they are able to access a backyard pool without a parent or other adult supervision.

“We want to encourage parents to use precautionary measures of proper fencing, pool alarms, securing pet doors, and other access that children may have to that water in their backyard,” said Lennan.

In 2018 there were 91 water fatalities involving children in Texas. Nueces County had 4 water fatalities involving children, and 2 happened in backyard pools.

“We receive reports of child water fatalities all year round. Last year we had reports for every month of the year, summer months received the most. However, it does happen all year round as so far this year in the state of Texas we have already had 3 water reports,” said Lennan.

One child drowning in a backyard pool is too many. And many of these pool accidents could be prevented.

“Last year in Texas, more than half of all child water fatalities were reported at pools. Supervision is the number one key. Second is taking precaution, and if you don’t know how to swim as a parent, this may be an activity you can do as a family. Teaching your child to swim could save not only their life, but it could save the life of somebody else,” said Lennan.

For more water safety information visit:

www.watchkidsaroundwater.org

Inside the home

  • Never leave small children alone near any container of water. This includes toilets, tubs, aquariums, or mop buckets.
  • Keep bathroom doors closed and secure toilet lids with lid locks.
  • Never leave a baby alone in a bath for any reason. Get the things you need before running water. Infants can drown in any amount of water. So if you must leave the room take the child with you.
  • Warn babysitters or caregivers about the dangers of water to young children and stress the need for constant supervision.
  • Make sure small children cannot leave the house through pet doors or unlocked doors and get to pools or hot tubs.

Water safety outside the home

  • Never leave children alone around with water whether it is in a pool, wading pool, drainage ditch, creek, pond or lake.
  • Constantly watch children who are swimming or playing in water. They need an adult or certified lifeguard watching and within reach.
  • Secure access to swimming pools. Use fences, self-closing and latching gates, and water surface alarms.
  • Completely remove pool covers when the pool is in use.
  • Store water toys away from the water when not in use so they don’t attract a small child.
  • Don’t assume young children will use good judgment and caution around water.
  • Be ready for emergencies. Keep emergency telephone numbers handy and learn CPR.
  • Find out if your child’s friends or neighbors have home pools.

Always Supervise!

  • 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

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.