NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The accidental drowning of three toddlers within one week in Tarrant County has health officials urging parents more than ever to watch over their kids when they’re near water. Fifty children in Texas have already died by drowning this year and summer isn’t even over.
“The majority of those cases are toddlers two to four years of age and for those of us who have toddlers — myself being one — or for those of us who have older children, there is that moment when we step back and we realize this could have happened to us,” said Medical Director of Emergency Services at Cook Children’s Medical Center, Dr. Kimberly Aaron.
It happened to Misty Vento two years ago at a pool in Keller. Her 4-year-old son Xander was playing in shallow water when he went to grab a snack for his sister. Another adult was supervising but was distracted for only a moment just as Xander slipped into deeper water and drowned.
“People expect oh if my child’s drowning, I’ll know about it. Nope. You sure won’t… and if your eyes are turned for one minute, that’s all it takes,” said Vento tearfully.
Xander made it to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth alive, but was taken off life support days later.
“It was obviously a hard decision to make to let your child go to help other people but it would do no good to anybody if we were selfish like that. It was really important that we carry him on and so he saved at least five other people,” said Vento.
Both Dr. Aaron and Vento are committed to ensure Xander’s death wasn’t in vain by raising awareness about water safety.
“We thought it was important to raise awareness and get the message out to the community,” said Aaron.
Vento is active with the Fort Worth Drowning Prevention Coalition. It was formed in late summer 2012 in an effort to address the high number of drowning deaths in the community. The group offers low-cost water safety classes to children and parents. Vento shares her story with over and over with parents who participate with the group.
“If it has touched another family then it has served it’s purpose and I know that I’m helping carry his name on and he would be really proud,” said Vento.
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