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In 2015, Collin County was one of the top three Texas counties with the most drowning victims. Every victim was under the age of 5 and all drowned in a backyard or community pool. —Texas Department of Family & Protective Services

Summer is here, and water is a great way to beat the heat. But summer is also the time of year when children are most likely to drown. Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death for kids under 4 years old, and a drowning can occur in as little as an inch of water.

Most importantly: Check the water first! If a child goes missing, look anywhere water might be: pools, hot tubs, fountains, draining ditches and even the neighbor’s backyard.   

Having multiple layers of protection can help ensure safety and prevent a drowning at home. Keep your family safe by following these simple guidelines:           

  1. Secure access. Surround your pool with a fence at least 4 feet tall that can’t be climbed and has a self-closing and self-latching gate. Install alarms to the doors leading to the pool or underwater pool alarms that sound when something hits the water.
  2. Empty and remove. Anything floating in the water is an invitation to children and an accident waiting to happen. Dump water from inflatable pools and take down ladders or steps to above ground pools after each use.
  3. Teach swimming. Formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% for children between the ages of 1 and 4.
  4. Follow the rules. All children need to be taught pool rules. Never ever swim alone; don’t go near the water or in the water without adult permission; and never swim on a babysitter’s watch. Know the rules, teach the rules and follow the rules.
  5. Pay attention. Never take your eyes off your kids and keep all distractions put away.
  6. Prepare a DWW. At social gatherings, rotate the responsibility of “Designated Water Watcher” among adults who know how to swim. Don’t rely on air-filled or foam toys, such as water wings, noodles or inner tubes, to keep children safe. This provides a false sense of security.
  7. Beware of drains. Don’t allow children to play near or sit on pool or hot tub drains. Body parts and hair may become entrapped by the strong suction.
  8. Stay extra safe. Keep emergency equipment handy, such as a safety ring with a rope and/or a long pole beside the pool.
  9. “Reach or throw, don’t go.” Lie on the ground and reach out or extend safety equipment to a struggling swimmer. Do not go into the water unless a swimmer is submerged to the bottom or can’t grasp the safety equipment.
  10. Be ready. Emergency medical numbers, a first aid kit, the home’s physical address and a phone should be handy. Learn CPR.  

Don’t become a statistic. Every drowning is preventable, so why put a loved one in unnecessary danger? Be cool, follow the rules. Be a water watcher. Be safe this summer.