Fort Worth, Texas,
08:49 PM

Three Fatal Drownings in March, Three Other Children Injured in Water

Pools and bathtubs to blame for six drowning cases this month

Spring is already proving deadly for children in water.

In less than two weeks, three children have died after being rushed to Cook Children’s for drowning, while another three were admitted to the medical center for their injuries.

Their ages range from 11 months to 3 years.

“Two of the fatal drownings were in pools. One was in a bathtub,” said Magdalena Santillan, Trauma Injury Prevention specialist at Cook Children’s. “Four of the six total drownings were in bathtubs. That’s very unusual. In fact, we hadn’t seen a bathtub drowning at all this year until this month.”

Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death in children ages 1 to 4 years old and the second leading cause of unintentional injury related death for ages 1 to 14.

“There is no amount of time that it’s safe to leave your child alone in water,” said Santillan.

SafeKids Tarrant County, led by Cook Children’s, gives these facts:

  • Children can drown in as little as one inch of water.
  • Drowning is quick and silent.
  • Irreversible brain damage occurs in as little as 4 minutes.

“Safety begins in the home,” said Dana Walraven, manager of Community Health Outreach at Cook Children's and coordinator of the Safe Kids Tarrant County Coalition. “Bath time is a good time to bond with your baby, but it can also be a dangerous time if you’re not watching your child. Support safe habits with adult, not sibling, supervision.”

To protect your child from drowning:

  1. Never leave your child unattended in the water.
  2. Put the cell phone away. Give your child 100 percent of your attention.
  3. Once the bath is over, immediately drain the tub.
  4. Store empty tubs, buckets containers and wading pools away after use. Store them upside down and out of children’s reach.
  5. Keep doors to bathrooms and laundry rooms closed.
  6. Learn CPR.
Pool Safety

Drowning prevention around the pool also begins with adult supervision, but there are other steps parents can take to protect their children from drowning.

Use these safety techniques and layers of protection whenever children are around the pool:

  • Require adult ‘Water Watchers’ to stay close and actively watch children in water. ‘Water Watchers’ must stay off cell phones and not talk to other guests during their 15 minutes shift.
  • If you are alone with your child, stay with your child. Get in the water with your child and be in arm's reach.
  • Swim with U.S. Coast Guard-approved life vests. Don't use floaties filled with air.
  • Learn to swim at any age.
  • Learn CPR.
  • Install a fence on all sides of a backyard pool or spa. Secure the fence with a self-latching gate.
  • Use alarms that can be put on children's wrists.
  • Update pool/spa drain covers.
  • Follow pool rules and signs.
  • In large pools, it’s ideal to split up in groups and take sections of the pool.

“With warm weather upon us, it’s important to remember that water can turn a normal day into a tragedy,” Walraven said. “Whether your child is near a pool, lake or bathtub, having a sober adult to supervise their activity with 100 percent focus can mean the difference between life and death.”

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