Texas is the number one state in the nation for child pool drownings, according to Safe Kids Tarrant County, and on Tuesday the group wants to help parents and swimmers stay safe this pool season.
Cook Children’s is hosting a “mock drowning” demonstration to help parents learn water safety tips.
The mock drowning will happen at 11 a.m. at the Allen Bolden outdoor pool in Arlington. Mothers of preschoolers will observe the mock drowning —- demonstrated by the Arlington Fire Department’s Station 7 Dive Team —- to see what the warning signs are and what to do if a child is in a dangerous situation.
Cook Children’s said they handle five child drowning deaths on average every summer and about 60 near drownings. Some of those children spend weeks in the hospital and have injuries that will last a lifetime.
Safe Kids Tarrant County said drowning is the number one cause of accidental death for children under the age of four. Nationwide, more than 1,000 children ages 14 and under drown every year. About 300 of those deaths are children under the age of 5.
"There are a lot of myths about what a drowning looks like, and how it happens, and we want parents to know they have to have their eyes on the water every second," said Dana Walraven, Cook Children’s Manager of Community Health Outreach.
Walraven said there are many misconceptions that a child will splash, wave their arms, and scream for help if they’re in danger. The reality, she said, is much different.
"They don’t often have the ability to scream, to shout for help. In the time it takes to flip a hamburger or run inside to grab something from the fridge, a child’s head can go under the water," she said.
"There’s usually silence, not screaming. Children can gasp for air, but they usually aren’t able to shout."
At the event, parents of both fatal and nonfatal drowning will speak about their family's life changing experience in and around the water. This North Texas effort is in collaboration with others throughout the state raising awareness about water safety.