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Why Texas Designates April As Water Safety Awareness Month

The Greater Houston area holds the record for highest drowning fatalities among children in the state.

Texas leads the nation in child drownings. It is the number one cause of death among kids under the age of 5.

Last year, the Greater Houston area recorded 25 drowning fatalities among children, the highest in the state.

Harris County DA Devon Anderson says her office is a member of the Harris County Child Fatality Review team that works to keep children safe:

“Each year, the Child Fatality Review Team, reviews numbers of cases of children who drown in our area. The Houston region, unfortunately leads the state in child drowning fatalities with 30-percent of the drowning fatalities from Texas in 2013. Texas ranks high above other states in the nation, with over 80 children succumbing to drowning just last year.”

Trey Stone, president of the Houston Apartment Association, says young children are at high risk for drowning when they live and play around water, like pools at apartment complexes:

“We also encourage our residents to be good Samaritans and look out for other people’s children that may be around that may be, unfortunately unsupervised.

water-awareness-april-2014-400px.pngWear a life jacket poster.

Another measure that the Apartment Association promotes is for all of the owners and management companies to have the proper pool safety equipment. Those include having the self-closing and the self-latching gates, the try and prevent unsupervised children from being able to enter the pool area on their own, which is obviously the source of a lot of these drowning incidents.”

While child drowning deaths decreased by almost half during the 1990s, rates for most age groups have remained relatively unchanged since 2000. Safety experts say drownings can be prevented by passing safety precautions around residential pools. But some argue state legislation in residential backyards goes too far.

Houston state Sen. Joan Huffman says until all parties come to an agreement on pool safety legislation:

“We designated April as Water Safety Month in Texas for the next ten years. We will all be working together to highlight the importance of drowning prevention programs and resources in our great state.”

Since 2007 annual reports from the Texas State Child Fatality Review Team, a team made up of local experts, has recommended to the governor and state lawmakers comprehensive pool safety requirements, but they have yet to be acted on.