Texas on pace to break child drowning record with 50 deaths so far this year
12:00 AM CDT on Sunday, June 21, 2009
HOUSTON – Child drownings in Texas so far this year reached 50 this past week with the deaths of at least seven youngsters, putting the state on pace for a new annual record before summer has officially even started.
Texas set a record last year with 82 child drownings, the highest since the state began keeping track in 2005. The average number each year is 70.
Patrick Crimmins, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, said the agency is very concerned with the approach of summer – which officially begins today. The agency said many recent victims didn't appear to be adequately supervised, including an 18-month-old in Texas City who drowned Thursday in his family's swimming pool while his mother and several teenagers were inside the home.
Drowning deaths this year have typically occurred outdoors, in swimming pools, bayous and ponds, Austin television station KXAN reported.
Two teenage brothers drowned last week at a pool in Laredo, and an 18-month-old in Waxahachie drowned after being left unattended at a pool. Two 2-year-olds in Texas also drowned in their family's backyard pools this past week.
"Each of these tragedies could have been prevented, simply by not leaving children alone, either in water or near water," said Sasha Rasco, DFPS assistant commissioner for child care licensing.
The Associated Press
Clearly, we need more and better laws.
Drowning is something I take very seriously. I grew up on lakes, big and small; fishing, swimming, skiing, horsing around dangerously. Hearing about drownings was an almost weekly occurrence.
I go by P.M. because my namesakes (two of my parents best friends) drowned on a fishing trip that my dad was supposed to go on. He stayed home because my arrival was immanent. I was named after those two men, but my parents had some difficulty calling their names. Hence the initials came to be used, and stuck.
Life vests are already mandatory for boaters. Shall we make them mandatory for all swimmers everywhere? The Texas Legislature passed a bill mandating helmets for juvenile rodeo riders (signed into law by Gov. Perry), including practicing on private property. Shall the State go there too, for swimmers? Will another attempt be made for a mandatory bicycle helmet law, next?
Seat belts are "no-brainers". They are the single best thing you can do (wearing them) to improve you chances of surviving an automobile crash. Far better than air-bags. Unfortunately, no other "safety measure" has anything close to their effectiveness, ease of use, lack of downside, and low cost.
But at some point, we have to realize that life has risks, and that the prognosis for life is 100% fatal. Yet we want to replicate that seat-belt success across the board of human life. The trick, the challenge, is to decide when the total, real cost of the counter-measure exceeds the cost of the danger. As has been shown, mandatory bicycle helmet laws achieve their success in reducing injuries by reducing bicycle accidents (meaning, a reduction in cycling).
No answers here, just questions.