AUSTIN, TEXAS (DFPS) - Labor Day Weekend is an end of the summer ritual that for many Texans that means picnics, barbeques, and outdoor activities around water. Don't let your end-of-summer celebration turn to tragedy. Always watch your kids around water – at the lake, the beach, or the neighborhood or backyard pool.
It's all too common to see a rash of tragedies around Labor Day and 58 children have already drowned in Texas this year. Backyard and apartment pools are the most common places that children drown, followed by natural bodies of water such as ponds, lakes, rivers, and creeks. This year is no exception. So far:
1: 22 kids drowned in swimming pools.
2: 18 kids drowned in in lakes, rivers, ponds, and other natural bodies of water.
3: 10 kids drowned in bathtubs.
Please watch and share this public service announcement on YouTube from DFPS Commissioner John Specia, urging anyone who cares for kids to "be on the lookout" to prevent child drowning deaths this summer.
Last year, 82 children drowned in Texas, most of them between Memorial Day and Labor Day – when water activities peak. An average of 81 children drowned in Texas over the last four years. The lowest total was 74 in 2012 and the highest was 90 in 2011. Most of these tragedies happen in the hot summer months. 33 of the 58 child-drowning deaths this year have happened since June 1.
The younger the child, the greater the danger! While teens and older children drown each year, most victims are six years old or younger. Very young children are often fascinated with water and don't realize the danger. Remember that drowning is silent. Don't expect a child who is in trouble to call for help.
Children under the age of one most often drown inside the house. Older children most often drown outdoors. Outdoors, children most often drown in pools, especially backyard and apartment pools.
Most young children who drown in pools were out of sight less than five minutes and were in the care of one or both parents at the time. Indoors, the bathtub is the most dangerous place.
For detailed statistics and information on water safety for kids, you can go HERE.
Basic Water Safety Tips
Inside the house:
- Never leave small children alone near any container of water.
- 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, and take the child with you if you must leave the room.
- Warn babysitters or caregivers about the dangers of water and stress the need to constantly supervise young children.
- Make sure small children cannot leave the house through pet doors or unlocked doors and reach pools or hot tubs.
Outside the house:
- Never leave children alone around 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 with fences, self-closing and latching gates, and water surface alarms.
- Completely remove the pool cover 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 around water.
- Be ready for emergencies. Keep emergency telephone numbers handy and learn CPR.
- Find out if your child's friends or neighbors have pools.