One of the children diedBy Staff

TARRANT COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – Within a three-day span this week, Cook Children’s medical staff treated three patients for drowning-related accidents with ages ranging from 15 months to 2 years old. One was fatal. The drownings were unrelated and all took place at home pools after the children escaped adult supervision, with two of the toddlers getting outside through doggie doors.

“This recent burst of drownings is incredibly worrisome,” said Sharon Evans, trauma injury prevention coordinator at Cook Children’s. “Now is the time for parents, grandparents and caregivers to reassess the ‘layers of protection’ they have at home. Make sure that pool gates still close and self-latch correctly, locks on outside doors are up high and out of reach of children and certainly don’t let your guard down!”

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According to the hospital, 2021 surpassed recent years for the number of drowning injuries seen at Cook Children’s, with 82 children admitted there. Seven were fatal and four resulted in life-altering diagnoses. The data includes drowning in bathtubs and open water, such as lakes; the majority, however, happened in swimming pools.

While the fall season has arrived and temperatures in Texas begin to cool down, this is a reminder that a child can drown at any time of the year and in any place where there is water.

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“Home safety checks are helpful for families with busy households and small children,” said Dana Walraven, manager of community health outreach for the Center for Children’s Health. “Go through each room of your home to identify all points that would allow access to potential danger zones both indoors and outdoors.”

Pool season in Texas tends to run through November, and even into the winter months with heated pools and hot tubs. Water safety advocates urge pool owners to put multiple safety measures in place to help prevent pediatric drownings.

Safety tips include:

  • Prevent access when adults are not watching
  • Doors with locks out of reaching of children, safety alarms for both pools and children, door knob covers on doors accessing water, etc.
  • Install four-sided fencing around home pools with a self-closing/self-latching gate that only opens out.
  • Reroute any doggie doors that have direct access to the pool area.
  • Install pool and spa covers that are sturdy enough to support the weight of a child or multiple children.
  • Schedule water safety and swim lessons.
  • Take family CPR lessons.
  • Create and follow pool rules.
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