It is July in Austin, Texas!!!  The heat has arrived and most of us yearn to jump in a pool and cool off during one of our area’s hottest months!  However, with this fun in the sun activity come risks that could be prevented with some pre-planning and implementation.

According to the Center of Disease Control, about ten people die from unintentional drowning every day. Of these accidental deaths, two are children aged 14 or younger.  In addition, drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States.

Having had a personal friend experience this devastating circumstance first-hand with a three-year-old child, I can attest that drowning CAN happen even when a parent is at arm’s reach.

In this particular situation, the little girl was playing on the steps of a friends’ pool while adults mingled around on the patio.  Approximately six other children were playing the pool at the time of this tragedy and no one saw anything, nor did they hear anything.  June 25th marked the ninth anniversary of Katie’s death and her family will never be the same.

Drowning has appropriately been named the ‘silent death’.  In fact, for every child that dies from drowning, there are five more that are treated in emergency rooms across the country for submersion injuries.

Nevertheless, there are several things we can do to prevent accidents in our own backyards and we can also be prepared for the worst-case scenario.

Preparation ideas include:

  • Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.
  • Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim well. Enroll in age-appropriate swim lessons.
  • Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child.
  • Teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
  • Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
  • Establish rules for your family and enforce them without fail. For example, set limits based on each person’s ability, do not let anyone play around drains and suction fittings, and do not allow swimmers to hyperventilate before swimming under water or have breath-holding contests.
  • Even if you do not plan on swimming, be cautious around natural bodies of water including ocean shoreline, rivers and lakes. Cold temperatures, currents and underwater hazards can make a fall into these bodies of water dangerous.
  • If you go boating, wear a life jacket! Most boating fatalities occur from drowning.
  • Avoid alcohol use. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination; affects swimming and diving skills; and reduces the body’s ability to stay warm.  It also impairs how well we can watch our children.

Additionally, the Red Cross has put together a list of things to know if you own a pool in case of a drowning emergency.  These include:

  • If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
  • Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
  • If you own a home pool or hot tub, have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.
  • Enroll in a home pool safety, water safety, first aid and CPR/AED courses to learn how to prevent and respond to emergencies.

Knowledge and planning can help keep our children safe and our summers fun!!

If you or someone you know is interested in buying or selling real estate in the Austin area, please do not hesitate to contact Kathleen Bucher at 512.794.6644 or KathleenBucher@mac.com.  It would be an honor to earn your business.