WACO, TX — The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services staff is warning parents and caregivers to be proactive in any activities around a large body of water this coming Independence Day weekend.
The summer months see a significant rise in drownings and water-related injuries, and June has been the deadliest month in drownings so far in 2021 with 12 confirmed reports. The month of May also held a significant amount of reports, 11, and in total 35 children have drowned in Texas this year to date.
11 percent of children who have drowned in Texas this year were in the Central Texas area, so as July 4 approaches the DFPS urges that parents take a minute to create a plan that will allow their children to be supervised when they are around any pool, lakes, or rivers.
According to the Texas DFPS, 74 percent of the child victims in drownings have been less than five years old, with the most significant reported age of two years old. And the most common locations of drowning have been in pools, especially backyard pools.
The rate of children drownings has ranged between 77 to 107 in the past six years, and according to Emily Schepers, DFPS investigations program administrator, children of all ages can can drown in just a couple of inches of water.
“Even if they know how to swim, kiddos can hit their heads, or get tired and get into trouble. Know what level of supervision your child needs and make sure you know who will be monitoring them,” Schepers said.
To ensure safety parents can also secure at-home pool areas with fences and gates. Pool alarms can also detect surface waves that alert parents when their child is in the water. Children should never be left unsupervised in water, even with floating devices or shallow water. For more information on water safety parents can visit watchkidsaroundwater.org.
“It only takes one second,” Schepers said. “You turn your back for one second and a child is at the bottom of the pool. It’s a scary situation, but it can be prevented.”