GALVESTON, Texas (Aug. 29, 2014) – The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District joins its partners: Safe Kids Greater Houston, Telemundo, Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark and Bass Pro Shops, in encouraging safe water recreation activities over the Labor Day weekend.
“It’s imperative we work with our partners to help educate our communities about drowning prevention,” said Col. Richard Pannell, USACE Galveston District commander. “We need the communities’ help to keep all children safe this Labor Day weekend when recreating on the water. Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death among young children and most of these deaths happen between Memorial Day and Labor Day."
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services’ child drowning statistics show that 57 kids have drowned in Texas this year (as of Aug. 21), with Harris County accounting for the most deaths per county with 8.
According to Safe Kids Greater Houston, drowning is a leading cause of death for children under age 14 and reports that children are at a greater risk due to poor swimming ability, reduced parental supervision and lack of life jacket usage.
“Many child drowning victims were under the care of their parents and were seen within the last five minutes of the incident,” said Kristen Beckworth, Safe kids Greater Houston Coalition member. “We want families to enjoy fun, water-related activities this holiday weekend; however we caution parents to actively supervise their children when in or around water and refrain from distractions.”
To prevent these avoidable deaths, the district and its partners are encouraging the public to incorporate the following basic safety tips:
●Never leave small children alone near any container of water. This includes toilets, tubs, aquariums or mop buckets.
●Keep bathroom doors closed and secure toilet lids with lid locks.
●Never leave a baby alone in a bath for any reason. Get the things you need before running the water. Infants can drown in any amount of water. If you must leave the room, take the child with you.
●Warn babysitters or caregivers about the dangers of water to young children and stress the need for constant supervision.
●Make sure small children cannot leave the house through pet doors or unlocked doors and reach pools or hot tubs.
● Never leave children alone around water whether it is in a pool, wading pool, drainage ditch, creek, pond or lake.
●Constantly watch children who are swimming or playing in water. They need an adult or certified lifeguard watching and within reach.
●Secure access to swimming pools. Use fences, self-closing and latching gates, and water surface alarms.
●Completely remove the pool cover when the pool is in use.
●Store water toys away from the water, when not in use, so they don't attract a small child.
●Don’t assume young children will use good judgment and caution around water.
●Be ready for emergencies. Keep emergency telephone numbers handy and learn CPR.
●Find out if your child's friends or neighbors have pools.
“With the summer coming to an end and thousands planning to recreate on the water this Labor Day weekend, I urge you to take extra precautions to stay safe around the water,” said Pannell. “Please wear a life jacket and encourage those around you to wear one too.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the nation’s largest federal provider of outdoor water-based recreation, managing more than 420 lake and river projects in 43 states and hosting more than 370 million visits per year. With 90 percent of these recreation areas within 50 miles of metropolitan areas they provide a diverse range of outdoor activities close to home and to people of all ages.
For more information about Texas drowning statistics visit www.watchKidsAroundWater.org. For more news and information, visit www.swg.usace.army.mil. Find us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/GalvestonDistrict or follow us on Twitter, www.twitter.com/USACEgalveston.