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Because childhood should be simple ...

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Water Safety

As she prepared for an evening party, Georgia Lacombe let her 1-year-old daughter, Alexandra, watch television with older cousins. Georgia went upstairs, leaving the kids in front of the TV with Georgia's sisters in the nearby kitchen. Within minutes, Georgia heard family members calling for Alexandra.

Georgia ran outside to find her brother-in-law pulling Alexandra out of the pool. Georgia, a respiratory therapist at Cook Children's Medical Center, and her sister, a former flight attendant, peformed CPR on Alexandra until an ambulance arrived.

Alexandra was rushed to Cook Children's Emergency Department and then transferred to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Through clinical care and the administration of steroids, Alexandra recovered and is now a healthy 7 year old who has taken swimming lessons.

"We are all so busy that it's easy to let your kids get out of your sight, but it only takes a split second for something terrible to occur," Georgia said. "It's critical to be aware of your surroundings and always make sure things are secure and safe."

Safe Kids Tarrant County, led by Cook Children's, offers these important layers of protection to keep your child safe while swimming:

  • Have active adult supervisors. Make sure a responsible adult is supervising. For safety when children are in the pool, designate a "water watcher." At a busy party, two people should be designated as water watcher. Water watcher tags to designate the person primarily responsible for watching the children in the pool, can be obtained by sending an email to terri.ford@cookchildrens.org
  • Get door and gate alarms. Any door or window that leads to a pool should have an alarm that is constantly armed.
  • Use four-sided isolation fencing. Barriers around pools could prevent 50 to 90 percent of childhood drowning and near-drowning incidents.
  • Enroll children in swimming lessons. Swim programs for children should teach good water safety behaviors in and around the pool, but should not be seen as the sole way to decrease the risk of drowning.
  • Learn CPR. Every parent should consider CPR classes.
  • Take precautions against entrapment. Suction from the drain outlets in pools can be strong enough to entrap hair or body parts, so you should never allow children to swim alone.
  • Use life jackets. All flotation devices should be U.S. Coast Guard-approved, be the correct size (by weight) for the child and fit properly.

Life jackets save lives. The U.S. Coast Guard states that nationally, more than two-thirds of all fatal boating accident victims drowned, and of those, 90 percent were not wearing life jackets. In 2008, 63 percent of all child fatalities resulted from drowning.

Here are important Texas boating facts from the Texas Parks and Wild Life Department:

  • Children under 13 must wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation (PFD) devise while in a boat.
  • The boat should have an appropriate sized U.S. Coast Guard approved PFD for each person in the boat.
  • Children under 13 are specifically prohibited from operating a personal water craft (jet ski) unless accompanied on board by a person at least 18 years of age. Each occupant must wear a life jacket.

To learn more about water safety or to obtain a Water Watcher tag, contact Terri Ford, Safe Kids Tarrant County coordinator, at 682-885-1619 or at terri.ford@cookchildrens.org.


Related Articles in Cook Children's Checkup Health Information:

  • Water Safety for Parents — Kids need constant supervision around water - whether the water is in a bathtub, pool, the sea, or a water park. Here's how to keep them safe.
  • Seguridad en el agua— Las piscinas, lagos, estanques y playas pueden ser excelentes oportunidades para el disfrute veraniego, aparte de ofrecer un fresco alivio del calor. Pero el agua también puede ser peligrosa para los niños si no se adoptan las precauciones adecuadas.
  • Water Safety for Teens — Swimming and other water sports are a great way to beat the heat. Read this article to find out how you can stay safe at the pool, beach, lake - and even the water park.
  • Household Safety: Preventing Drowning — Water safety is important at any age, but is especially crucial if you have babies or toddlers in your home. Drowning can happen very quickly and in less than 1 inch of water. Here's how to reduce drowning risks.
  • Spotlight on Summer — Sunny skies and warm weather - it's time to take to the great outdoors! Before you head for the beach, park, or mountains, read how to make your days in the sun safe as well as fun.
  • Backyard and Pool: Household Safety Checklist — Use these checklists to make a safety check of your home, including your backyard and pool area. You should answer "yes" to all of these questions.
  • For Kids: Swimming — Kids love to spend hot days splashing around in a pool or the ocean. But drowning is the second most common cause of death from injuries among kids under the age of 14. Learn how to be safe.

Cook Children's Water Safety Information in the News:

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