Texas Seeks to Reverse Deadly Spike in Child Drownings

Texas has a problem...too many kids are drowning, and Child Protective Services is launching a campaign to try to end this worrisome streak.

So far this year, CPS’ Robbie Callis says 33 kids in Texas have drowned, and 16 of them have been toddlers between the ages of one and three.

“Their young lives ended in bathtubs and in backyard swimming pools,” she said. “One drowned in a hot tub, and another in a pond.”

She says bathtubs are particularly dangerous for toddlers, because parents see the child playing safely in what appears to be a small amount of water and feels free to walk out to get something, or cook dinner, or answer a phone call. Callis says that’s what tragedy happens.

“There can be no leaving a little one in the bathtub, even for a second,” she said. “There should be nothing that is outside the bathtub that is more important to you than your child.”

But seemingly harmless items can be deadly if they contain water. She says earlier this year a baby drowned in a mop bucket. She says two inches of water is enough for a child to drown.

The new program is called ‘Be on the Lookout,’ and the idea is to make sure that parents and adults are vigilant whenever children are around water of any sort.

San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood, who has answered more child drowning calls that he likes to remember as a veteran paramedic, says even if the child survives, he or she frequently is never the same. He says a child can lose brain function after eight minutes in the water, and, unless you live next door to the fire house, paramedics can seldom make it to the scene of a drowning in that short a time.

He says everybody’s life is affected when a child drowns.

“85% of parents, if they lose a child, that relationship ends in divorce,” he said. “It is something that a family cannot survive.”

Hood recalls going to several child drowning cases where the mother and father are already arguing about who is to blame, and who didn’t pay close enough attention to the child.

He says now, you have the opportunity to avoid being in those parents’ position, by resolving to ‘be on the lookout.’

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