Drowning Deaths Serve As Tragic Reminder ‘There Is No Drowning Season’
The numbers seemed too good to be true. A pool drowning death had not been reported at Cook Children’s throughout the summer of 2019.
Even as the summer was winding down, every member of the Emergency Department knew a fatal drowning could still happen at any moment. Tragically, that moment came over the weekend when two sisters were found unresponsive in a Haltom City apartment swimming pool. News agencies report the girls were taken to Cook Children’s where they both died.
“Drownings occur year-round and there is no ‘drowning season,’ especially in Texas,” said Corwin Warmink, M.D., medical director of Emergency Services at Cook Children’s. “You can’t get comfortable and complacent with children and water, no matter the time of year.”
Before this weekend’s pool drownings, three children had died from drowning at Cook Children’s in 2019 – two separate incidents in bathtubs in March and one child in open water in May.
Even in the month of September, the warm Texas weather means kids are getting in the pool. From 2014 to 2018, there have been a total of 16 drownings (13 in a pool and 3 in open water) during the month of September, with two being fatal.
“I worry that with the end of the summer and kids being back in school that people will relax a bit,” said Dana Walraven, community health outreach manager for Cook Children’s. “But we can’t let our guard down even for a little bit. The temperatures are still warm and there’s plenty of time left for kids to be in the water. All the same rules apply to keep our kids safe.”
Overall, the majority of fatal and non-fatal drownings seen at Cook Children’s occur in swimming pools. Whether it’s a public pool, a neighbor’s pool or your own pool, it’s important to put certain safety measures in place to keep your child from drowning.
One to 4-year-old children are at the most risk to drown in a pool. At this age, toddlers learn by exploring and often have no fear of water. They are unsteady on solid ground and often end up accidentally falling into water without the proper survival skills.
As children get older, they are not drowning proof either. Even strong swimmers are at risk for drowning. Put multiple safety measures in place, whether it’s during a time when you plan to be around water or a time when a toddler accidentally finds themselves around water without an adult in sight.
Knowing that Texas pools can be accessed throughout the year, families should consider the following best practices year-round:
- Install four-sided fences with self-latching gates around pools
- Wear life vests with U.S. Coast Guard-approved labels
- Take family CPR lessons
- Create and follow all pool rules
- Use pool door/child alarms
- Always have a non-distracted adult act as a Water Watcher
- Schedule water safety and swim lessons
- Update pool drains and cleaning systems
For more information on how to implement this advice, please visit Cook Children’s Water Safety website.
Learn more about the "Lifeguard Your Child" Campaign
Water safety is important at any age. When it comes to drowning, seconds count. It’s silent and can happen in an instant. Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children ages 1 to 4, and the second leading cause for kids 1-14 in Texas. But with your help, we can change that. Click here to learn more.
Please join us in our drowning prevention efforts. Together, we are asking everyone to Lifeguard Your Child around water. Click the below link to learn more about how to get involved or create an awareness campaign in your community. Click here to find out how you can get involved.