After Near Drowning Incident, West U Parents Reminded to Keep Extra Eye Out for Kids

April 26, 2012

Last weekend’s near drowning incident at Colonial Park Pool should serve as a reminder to parents to keep an extra eye out for kids at the pool, West U city officials said.

“I think there’s a false perception that we’re there to watch the kids and babysit,” Recreation Manager Brittany Bakes said. “We’re there to lifeguard and prevent. Our number one goal is prevention and to react.”

A West U boy nearly drowned at the pool on Sunday, April 22 while having a seizure.

A lifeguard noticed the child in distress on a floating log play feature in the pool and immediately initiated the emergency procedure protocol and entered the pool to help the child as the other lifeguards on duty cleared the pool, city officials said in a statement.

Staff performed an extrication of the child from the pool and immediately began to assess the condition of the child’s vital signs.

West University Place Police and Fire Department personnel were immediately dispatched to the scene. Through the combined efforts of municipal personnel the child was stabilized and transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital at the Texas Medical Center.

Due to legal reasons, the city did not release the name and condition of the child.

Bakes and Parks and Recreation Director Tim O’Connor both said they are proud of how the staff handled the situation.

“I’m proud of them,” Bakes said. “They did what they were trained to do.”

O’Connor said that the parks and recreation department and police and fire departments all did their job and acted in “a very professional and efficient manner.”

Parents are encouraged to remember the following safety tips when swimming with their children at Colonial Pool:

Keep an eye on your kids. Even strong swimmers need adult supervision. Insist on life jackets for children who can’t swim. If you need to leave the pool area — even for a minute — take your children with you.

Go a step further and keep an eye on friends and family. Drowning can occur in as little as 20 seconds for children and 60 seconds for an adult. Drowning is known as the “silent killer” because most victims slip beneath the water without a sound. Paying close attention to those around you can drastically reduce such accidents.

Stay away from drains, filters and water intakes. Loose hair or clothing can get tangled in these structures — possibly trapping you under the water.

Never swim alone. Choose swimming sites that have lifeguards whenever possible. At Colonial Park Pool & the Rec Center Pool the following rules apply: 1) children under 10 must be accompanied by an adult. 2) Adults/guardians of children 3 and younger must be wearing a bathing suit and actively supervising, within arm’s length. 3)  Adults/guardians of children 6 and younger must be wearing a bathing suit and actively participating in the water with their children at all times. 4) Adults/guardians of children 7-9 that are water safe (child can swim safely on his/her own unassisted without assistance and free of floatation devices) must remain in the parent viewing area/ or on the deck so that they are easily accessible to the Aquatic Area and their child. If the child is not water safe, then rules #3 and/or #4 apply. 5) Children over 10 should come with a friend or a “buddy,” and they should swim together throughout the day to keep “watch” over one another.

Wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Not all life-jackets are created equal.  Some are as bad (or even worse) than not putting your child in a lifejacket.  Only certain ones are allowed at Colonial Park Pool. Do your part and bring your child in one that is accepted.   In addition, putting your child in a life jacket doesn’t mean you don’t need to watch them. This is a common misconception and one we encounter at Colonial Park Pool all the time.   Colonial Park Pool also has a chart available at the front desk on which lifejackets are safe and permitted at the pool.

Seizure/Fainting Disorder Safety. If you or a family member has a seizure/fainting disorder, provide one-on-one supervision around water, including swimming pools.

Remember that swimming and alcohol can be a deadly combination.  Alcohol can cause you to be distracted from your responsibilities and lower your inhibitions. So avoid alcohol before and while swimming.  If you choose to drink while swimming, please make sure you have a sober, responsible adult “designated swimmer” to watch/supervise the children.

Never dive into shallow water.  Diving into shallow water could result in a head, neck or back injury. It could even leave you paralyzed.  Obey the markings around the pool, and don’t dive where it says “No Diving.”

Never run near the edge of a pool or on the pool deck.  The pool deck is wet and therefore slippery.  Falling could result in injury. A non-swimmer or weaker swimmer running along the deck could slip and fall into the pool. This could lead to a potential drowning situation.

Do Not Use Air-Filled or Foam Toys.   Do not use air-filled or foam toys, such as “water wings”, “noodles”, or inner-tubes, in place of life jackets. These toys are not designed to keep swimmers safe.

Learn to swim.  Make sure your child learns how to swim. West U offers group and private swimming lessons at the Recreation Center.

InstantNewsWestu Staff

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