SAN ANTONIO – Child drownings in Bexar County have reached the second-highest total since 2014, with the fourth death reported just last week.
A 4-year-old boy died July 6 after he climbed over a fence and drowned in his neighbor’s pool just one day before his birthday.
The recent drownings have prompted the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio to remind parents and the community about water safety and drowning prevention.
Dr. Tracy McCallin, a pediatric emergency department attending physician, said child drownings are 100 percent preventable.
"In the emergency department, (if) we see one drowning, it’s one too many," McCallin said. "At the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, we typically see an average of about 16 drowning cases per year, including both fatal drownings and nonfatal cases. But this year, we’ve already seen 23 cases at the hospital."
McCallin said drowning is the second-leading cause of death for children under the age of 14. Between 1 and 4 years of age, she said it accounts for more deaths than anything else other than birth defects.
According to helpandhope.org, 54 child drownings have already been reported in Texas, with Bexar County tied for the second-highest number of deaths in the state with Dallas and Harris counties.
McCallin said 88 percent of drownings have occurred under some form of adult supervision and a drowning can happen anywhere with it happening less than a minute.
The first child drowning in Bexar County this year occurred Feb. 10 at a Stone Oak swim school where a 3-year-old boy was found unresponsive in the deep end of the pool.
“It doesn’t take very long. If you have a child in the bathtub and you leave the room to answer the phone, when you come back, the child could have drowned,” McCallin said.
“The best thing I can tell families is, ‘You can prevent drownings,’” she said.
McCallin said, in order to prevent drownings, the community must understand the ABCD’s of Water Safety: