Dubious "Firsts" for Houston and Texas
Both Houston and Texas love being “first,” and when you’re taking about sports championships or being the best at something cool, that’s great. But, some “firsts” should be avoided at all costs.
Texas is first in the nation in child drowning deaths, and Harris County leads the state. According to statistics compiled by the Help and Hope Foundation, Texas has experienced more child drownings than any other state in 2019 and Harris County alone has had eight.
HFD Chief Samuel Pena notes that with toddlers, as little as 20-30 seconds of inattention can turn a fun family outing into a horrific tragedy. And, whether you are at a local pool or at the beach, the rules are the same: constant vigilance and practical precautions are required. Swimming safety experts caution that following some basic rules can mean happy healthy kids and not dead ones:
1) If at all possible, make sure any child over the age of two can actually swim;
2) Any child who cannot swim should have floaties on at all times and remain under direct, close supervision by a responsible older person who can swim;
3) Make sure someone in the family is certified in CPR and has current skills;
4) Make sure any pool has secure fencing at least 5-feet tall, with a self-locking and tamper-proof gate;
5) Install an alarm system that alerts when anyone passes through the gate;
6) At the beach, NEVER allow children to swim unsupervised or in water over their knees without wearing a safety vest;
7) Remember that elevated activity, excitement, Gulf currents and wave action and sun can quickly sap energy and fatigue makes swimming harder, so time is the water should be monitored and limited; and,
8) More than anything else, pay attention every second your child is in or even near the water the water.
Swimming together in the summertime is the stuff of lifetime family memories. Please make sure you do the basic things to make those memories happy ones!