By Carolina Boyd
Summer time often means swim time for kids. The water brings a much-needed break from the heat, but it can also be a source of danger.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the top cause of injury death in the United States among children ages 1 to 4. In Texas, 91 children drowned in 2018; out of that number, 23 were in Harris County.
Regardless if it is a bathtub or the beach, children need constant supervision around water. Children are drawn to water but even those who know how to swim can be at risk for drowning.
Here are a few helpful water safety tips for parents this summer:
- When watching kids around water, keep young children within arm’s reach of an adult. Make sure older children swim with a partner every time.
- Install fences around home pools. A pool fence should surround all sides of the pool and be at least four feet tall with self-closing or self-latching gates.
- Drain bathtubs and empty buckets immediately after use. Young children are most at risk since they can drown in less than two inches of water.
- Know what to do in the event of a water emergency, including how to perform CPR.
- Make sure all members of your family know how to swim. That includes being skilled in staying afloat, entering the water, or swimming the needed distance to get out of the water safely.
Free or low-cost swim classes are available during the summer months. The City of Houston’s Parks and Recreation department has free swim lessons for both children and adults. To register, visit their website. Harris County also offers free swim lessons through its Aquatics Program.