4 Children Treated For Near-Drownings In February at Cook Children’s ER
Risk of drowning a year-round danger
With a high of 90 degrees expected today, it's clear the risk of a child drowning isn’t a seasonal event.
February isn’t over and already four children have been treated for near-drowning accidents at Cook Children’s Emergency Department. All of these incidents occured in swimming pools.
“So often we think of the summer months as the time when we see drownings,” said Sharon Evans, Trauma Injury Prevention coordinator at Cook Children’s. “But as long as a child is around water, the threat is real for a child to drown. In Texas, we have 70 or 80 degree days during the winter and kids are outside playing around pools. If you have a pool, parents should be outside with their child. If not, the results can be tragic.”
The threat of drowning is a continuing concern well before summer begins. By the end of April 2016, 12 children were admitted for drowning injuries (9 in a pool) at Cook Children's, including two that were fatal (one pool death, one pond).
Even non-fatal, or near, drownings can be devastating for a child. Corwin Warmink, M.D., medical director of the Cook Children’s Emergency Department, says there’s a large amount of children who survive a drowning, but end up with catastrophic outcomes. The most effected parts of a near-drowning victim are the brain, lungs and kidneys. “The one that is most catastrophic and the one that will kill you is the brain,” Dr. Warmink said.
As a parent, Dr. Warmink stresses supervision of his own children in the pool. He calls it a hallmark of making sure children are safe. Half of all drownings occur within 25 feet of an adult.
“Children should never be in water without adults watching them,” he said. “If you have a toddler, that child shouldn't be in water without what we call touch supervision. You need to be in hand's length and it's not just pools. That includes bathtubs or any other container with water. I've seen kids drown in buckets. A child can drown in any water, even a few inches deep.”
The most important step a parent can make in making sure their child is safe around water is simply being present without distractions. Drowning is silent and quick, so a grownup should be watching children near water at all times and never leave, even for a brief moment.
“Active adult supervision and layers of protection such as door alarms and a fence can lower the risk for your child,” Dana Walraven, Community Outreach manager said. “The majority of these water-related incidents happen in the child’s own backyard pools and to children 4 years old and younger. Preventing pool drownings begins with adult supervision.”
Children are protected by layers of protection by using these safety techniques whenever children are around the pool:
- Always have adult supervision present when children are swimming or around pools.
- A fence with a locking gate should surround the pool.
- Install door alarms to alert adults when a child is entering the pool area.
- Require life jacket use for non-swimmers.
- Enroll children in swimming lessons.
- Parents and caregivers should undergo CPR training.
- NRH Water Safety 365 Drowning Prevention Coalition
- Grownups be smart: Put down the phone at the pool
- 9 Ways to Protect Children From Drowning
- What Your Children Should Do If They See Someone Drowning
- Is Your Baby Ready For Swim Lessons?