With the summer break upon us, water activities will be plentiful. Whether you are at a pool or lake, the City of North Richland Hills and NRH Water Safety 365 remind parents to be vigilant and actively supervise children in and around water.
Tragically, 13 children lost their lives to drowning in Tarrant County in 2018, more than any other county in Texas. We can prevent these tragedies by following the “ABCs of Water Safety” and putting multiple layers of protection in place between kids and the water.
Active Adult Supervision
• Children should never be left alone around water, not even for a minute. Do not rely on older children to watch younger children.
• Use a Water Watcher. Drowning is quick and completely silent; the Water Watcher is an adult who is actively watching kids in the water without distractions.
• NRH residents can pick up a free “Water Watcher” tag from Neighborhood Services on the first floor of City Hall. This tag can be transferred between adults at swim parties/etc. every 10-15 minutes to designate the Water Watcher and make sure someone is always actively watching kids in the water.
• A four-sided, non-climbable fence around the pool would have prevented 50-90% of child drownings in a home pool.
• Install a keyless latch out of children’s reach (i.e. chain latch, etc.) on doors that lead to the pool from the house.
• Use alarms on doors/windows that lead to the pool.
• All adults in the house should know CPR/First Aid. NRH Fire Department offers monthly CPR classes: www.nrhtx.com/cpr
• Knowing how to swim doesn’t make someone “drown proof”. However, swimming lessons reduce the risk of drowning in kids aged 0-4 years old by 88%. https://www.nrhcentre.com/learn-to-swim
• Make sure that kids know water safety rules, including what to do if they see someone drowning. Parents can download a free color and learn storybook to help teach kids water safety rules here: http://ow.ly/pZj030kgPds
• Everyone should wear a life jacket on open water, regardless of swimming ability.
• Don’t rely on water wings or floaties for kids around water; always use a USCG-approved life jacket or puddle jumper. Keep life jackets on kids who need them until you have left the pool area.
• Use safe drain covers on your pool, and teach kids not to play near drains. If you’re not sure if your drain covers are safe, call NRH Consumer Health at 817-427-6652 for a free consultation.
Whether you are in the pool, spa, bathtub, ocean, lake or pond, knowing water safety can save the life of someone in your family. Teach kids to never go near the water without a grownup. Latch those gates. Wear that life vest. Watch those kids. Every. Single. Day. That's Water Safety 365.
The City of North Richland Hills and community partners created a drowning prevention initiative four years ago in response to the tragic drowning of a four-year-old NRH resident in his backyard swimming pool. The mission of the NRH Water Safety 365 campaign is to educate and empower the community and beyond in water safety to lessen the loss of life through drowning, so that not one more child drowns in North Richland Hills. Visit http://www.nrhws365.com/ and follow NRH Water Safety 365 on Facebook (http://facebook.com/nrhws365) or Twitter (http://twitter.com/CaptPaxton) for more water safety information.