Disclaimer: This editorial series, Hot Topics, is brought to you by the Fort Worth Moms Blog and iCare Emergency Room & Urgent Care. Kelly Wooley, Fort Worth Mom’s Blog contributor and marketing specialist at Cook Children’s, used her personal experience to write this sponsored post by Cook Children’s for the Hot Topics editorial series.
Picture these scenarios.
A newly turned two year old wanders off during a family gathering to celebrate his second birthday. It’s a calm, intimate gathering at his aunt and uncle’s house with a pool. They’ve been swimming and are now sitting outside chatting while his mom is inside cutting his birthday cake. The parents think he’s followed his big brother into the garage. He’s gone for less than two minutes. After frantically searching, he’s found; fatally drowned in the hot tub, not wearing a life jacket.
A dad turns his back to his three-year-old son for less than two minutes at the lake. The toddler has been strictly told to stay on the shore and to build a sand castle with his sister. Dad turns around, and the son is nowhere to be found. After hours of searching, the boy is found, no longer alive.
A teenage boy, who is an experienced swimmer, goes to a friend’s lake house. They are playing around and jumping off the dock. He jumps, without a life jacket, and never comes back to the surface. Hours later, his lifeless body is found.
These are all-real life scenarios of drownings that have occurred in our community. They happened to loving families who thought they were doing everything to protect their child from harm.
There are many misunderstandings when it comes to drownings.
Drowning is silent. It happens in seconds. And drowning does not discriminate; it can happen to even the most experienced swimmer. It can happen in pools, lakes, hot tubs, water parks, and even in less than an inch of water. It happens to GOOD parents who love their children.
Tarrant County is currently leading the state of Texas in drownings; both fatal and nonfatal. That’s not something we should be proud of.
The good news is that it’s 100 percent preventable.
There are many steps you can take to prevent this from happening, but here’s the easiest and cheapest one to follow: When your children are in the water, be in the water with them. That way, if they get in trouble, you have the best possible shot at saving them from a completely preventable tragedy.
As parents, it’s easy to get distracted, especially when at the pool or the lake. You’re talking to friends, grabbing a drink or food, taking pictures, catching up on your social media accounts, and often times trying to keep up with multiple children in the water. That’s a lot going on at once. It can be the perfect storm.
So, what else can you do?
In addition to being WITH them in the water, always an arm’s length away, you can:
- Make sure they are wearing a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life vest. If it doesn’t say that on in the inside of the life jacket, it’s not approved. Floaties DO NOT count. This applies to older kiddos too, especially in open water like lakes and oceans.
- Assign designated “water watchers” if you are at a party or in a chaotic scenario where it’s easy to get distracted. As a water watcher, your only job is to keep your eye on the water.
- Learn CPR. Seconds count when it comes to drowning. It could be a matter of life and death.
- If you have a home pool, make sure you have multiple barriers in place to keep children from getting in the water without you knowing:
— Make sure you have a four-sided fence with a self-latching gate around your pool.
— If you have older kids, put a lock around the gate they can’t open.
— Place latches at the top of all doors that lead out to your pool.
— Make sure your children know they are not allowed to swim without you present.
Above all else, lifeguard your child. No matter how old your child is, he or she depends on YOU for safety. It’s our job as parents to protect our children.
For more information, tips and resources, visit our dedicated Drowning Prevention web page.
Cook Children’s is asking for your help this summer. It’s time to make Texas #1 in drowning prevention. Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children ages one to four, and the second leading cause for kids one to 14 in Texas. But with your help, we can change that. Please join us in our drowning prevention effort. Together, we can lifeguard your child around water.