May is National Water Safety Month, and Harris County Public Health (HCPH) encourages residents to stay alert while enjoying water activities.
As temperatures begin to climb, so do the risks of drowning. Texas leads the nation in drowning deaths for children under five years of age. Last year, eight children drowned in Harris County, and so far this year, three children have lost their lives to drowning.
Summer is the perfect time to enjoy water activities with your children, but even small amounts of water can be dangerous. You can significantly reduce the risk of drowning by following a few tips to keep your children safe.
Water Safety Tips:
- Know where your children are at all times: Active supervision saves lives. Select several adults who know how to swim to be “Water Watchers” to supervise children in and around bodies of water, such as pools, beaches, lakes, or water parks. Make sure children are within arm’s reach. If you leave the water or pool, take your child with you.
- Take precautions to reduce the likelihood of drowning accidents: Drain water from wading pools, buckets, spas, tubs, and ice chests. Don’t assume young children will use good judgment and caution around water. A child can drown in as little as two inches of water.
- Never let your guard down at home: Install alert devices on all doors and windows that lead to the pool area. Install a fence at least five feet high around the pool. Keep proper safety equipment near the pool.
- Knowing how to swim does not make your child safe: If a child suddenly falls into a fast-moving current or becomes too tired, they can panic and forget their swimming skills. Don’t rely on inflatable devices for protection. When children are playing in and around water, make sure they wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket for their weight and size.
Know what to do in an emergency. Learning CPR and basic water rescue skills may help you save a life. Also, keep a first-aid kit and emergency phone numbers nearby. To learn more about water safety, visit redcross.org. Everyone plays a role in drowning prevention.