HOUSTON – It can take seconds for a day of fun at the pool or beach to turn into tragedy. First responders in Harris County have seen it happen eight times already this year.
According to the Help and Hope Organization, Harris County leads the other Texas counties for the most child drownings in 2019. Texas is leading the nation.
“It happened to us because we didn’t know how dangerous water can be. We didn’t understand the risks,” said parent Mark Brown.
Brown and his wife Christi’s son Judah died on June 24, 2016. The 3-year-old passed two days after falling into a pool. Both parents weren’t far away. Mark Brown said if it could happen to their family it can happen to other parents too.
“My head shot around and I saw our friend holding the limp body of our 3-year-old Judah," he recalled. "What had happened is that in just 20-30 seconds he had fallen in the pool. He had floaties on. The floaties had been removed and the floaties gave him confidence that he could swim but he couldn’t.”
Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena said families should enjoy pools and beaches this summer. Pena said families should also be aware of how quickly and quietly children can go under water.
“It’s not like we would see in the movies where the kids are splashing and you know highlighting themselves,” Pena said.“It happens quickly. It’s silent a lot of the times and before you realize it, tragedy can strike.”
Ways to prevent drownings:
Stay in the pool with your child. Make sure they are wearing a flotation vest. Designate someone to keep an eye on all children in the water. Check the water first if a child goes missing.
Sign your child up for swimming lessons. It can help them learn water safety and survival skills that could come in handy during an emergency. Get CPR certified.
Make sure your pool has a four-sided fence that’s at least 5 feet tall with a self-locking gate. Remove all furniture that could be used to climb over the fence.
Install an alarm system to alert you if anyone goes into the water. Make sure all windows and doors leading to the pool are locked and alarmed at all times.