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State's Rising Child Drowning Numbers Put Parents on Guard


July 2, 2020

By Natalie Cook Clark

Many Katy families have chosen to avoid public pools this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, more people are using private pools which puts more attention on another safety issue. Texas leads the nation in child drowning deaths, and the greater Katy area leads the state. Some local parents are taking this time at home to improve their child’s water safety skills and build their confidence.

Adelaide Harr loves her swim lessons. Photo credit: Beth Harr

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the United States reported 221 drowning deaths in children ages 15 and younger last year. Texas had the most deaths in the country, with 34. So far this year, 41 drowning deaths have been reported in Texas, and the summer is not over.

COVID Isolation Could Increase Drownings

As fewer families visit public pools with lifeguards, some parents worry that increased use of private pools will add to the already-alarming statistics. Some Katy families are using this time at home to really work on water confidence with their children.

Katy mom Beth Harr has made swimming lessons a priority for her daughter Adalaide.

“We do other fun activities (before Covid) like ballet, play dates, etc., but swimming lessons have and will continue to be our top priority because it saves her life,” says Harr.

“We put her in swim lessons at four months old because we have a pool,” says Harr. “By the time she was walking she could save herself by floating to the side of the pool.”

Today, Adelaide is an independent swimmer.

Water Safety

This year, the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office partnered with The Texas Children’s Hospital for National Water Safety Awareness Month back in May. The partnership shared these important tips:

“We’re always pushing for water safety year-round,” says Jessica Reyes, Public Information Officer for FBCSO. "We expect more families to utilize their private pools with all the spontaneous/last minute closures of beaches, parks, etc. during this pandemic."

Fort Bend County reported three drownings last summer. However, families need to remember that drownings are not just limited to summer months. So far this year, Harris County has had 6 drownings and two of those involved a bathtub.

The Help and Hope organization offers guidance and safety tips on a variety of parenting topics. Visit the their website for important prevention information and drowning statistics.

Swim Lessons Offer Lifesaving Skills and Confidence

“We are keeping her in lessons because water safety is so important to us," says Harr. "Adalaide swims every day and it keeps her active and healthy. We always have eyes on her when she is in or around the water, but there is an extra level of security knowing she can swim and safely get in and out of the pool."


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