The Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) is calling on all Texans to “Watch Kids Around Water” this summer to prevent drownings.
With the most dangerous time of year for child drownings – from Memorial Day to Labor Day – still ahead, 24 children have already drowned this year in Texas (none in the El Paso area.)
Last year, a total of 87 children drowned in Texas, with two in the El Paso area.
“Drowning claims far too many children’s lives and it’s totally preventable,” said Sasha Rasco, the chief of DFPS prevention programs. “We all have to be lifeguards for kids and never, ever let them out of sight or out of arm’s reach around water.”
Notably in 2020, more than 80% of child drowning victims were under the age of 5 and nearly half have drowned in backyard pools.
“As a parent or caregiver, you can prevent accidents before they happen,” officials add. “Learn CPR, have emergency numbers handy, and use these tips to make sure that water activities are fun and safe for all.”
- 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.
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.
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.
Always remember: Don’t assume children will use caution. Watch kids around water at all times!