Recent Drowning Events Raise Concern With Dr. Crocker June 22, 2012
Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas has recently seen an uptick in drowning events. As an incident where the child is submersed underwater and has respiratory impairment following the incident. Some of the near drownings actually result in permanent brain injuries death and impairment to the child. Annually, Dell Children's sees about 50 children under the age of 16 who have experienced a near drowning event.
Dr. Pat Crocker, Chief of Emergency Medicine at Dell Children's and Tareka Wheeler, Program Coordinator for Safe Kids Austin, recently spoke about the recent events and what parents can do to keep their kids safe this summer.
Consider these facts concerning drowning from SAFE KIDS USA:
- When a child is submerged two minutes in water, he/she loses consciousness.
- Irreversible brain damage sets in after four to six minutes of water submersion.
- Most children die if they are found after 10 minutes in the water.
To help keep kids safe this pool season, Safe Kids USA recommends these precautions:
- If you have a pool or spa, or if your child visits a
home that has a pool or spa, it should be surrounded on all
four sides by a fence at least five feet high with gates
that close and latch automatically. Studies estimate that
this type of isolation fencing could prevent 50 percent to
90 percent of child drownings in residential pools.
- A pool or spa should be equipped with an
anti-entrapment drain cover and a safety vacuum release
system to prevent children from being caught in the suction
of the drain. The powerful suction forces can trap a child
underwater or cause internal injuries.
- Don't leave toys in or near the pool, where they could
attract unsupervised kids. For extra protection, consider a
pool alarm and alarms on the doors, windows and gates
leading to the pool.
- Enroll your kids in swimming lessons around age 4, but
don't assume swimming lessons make your child drownproof.
There is no substitute for active supervision.
- Remember: inflatable swimming toys such as water wings
and noodles are not flotation devices and do not prevent
- Learn infant and child CPR. In less than two hours, you
can learn effective interventions that can give a fighting
chance to a child whose breathing and heartbeat have
stopped. Contact your local hospital or Red Cross affiliate
for information about local CPR classes.
- Keep rescue equipment, a phone and emergency numbers by
- These guidelines apply to inflatable and portable pools, not just in-ground pools. A child can drown in just an inch of water. Kiddie pools should be emptied and stored out of reach when not in use.
Adolescent children (12 to 18 years of age)
Although older children are more likely to know how to swim, they are at risk for drowning due to overestimation of their skills, unawareness of water currents or water depth, and when consuming alcohol or using drugs. To protect your adolescent from drowning, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers the following tips:
- Insist that your adolescent always swim with a
- Encourage your adolescent to take swimming, diving, and
water safety or rescue classes to give him/her the skills
needed to swim and dive safely. These classes may also
prevent your adolescent from acting recklessly.
- Teach your adolescent never to swim or dive while under
the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Make sure your adolescent checks the depth of the water before diving.
Central Texas -
American Red Cross - Classes in swimming lessons, life
guarding, basic water rescue and CPR (
class schedule )
City of Austin Pool Schedule
City of Austin Swimming Lessons
Swim Safe for Austin Kids