Fort Worth, Texas – Fifteen swimsuits and five rubber duckies hang on a clothesline in front of Cook Children’s Medical Center today. They represent the more than 20 children who have been treated for drowning injuries at the hospital since the beginning of 2022. Unfortunately, three of those children died. Each swimsuit matches the age and gender of the swimming pool drowning patients treated this year. The rubber duckies represent the five children who drowned in bathtubs.   

The display is located in front of Cook Children’s Medical Center, located at 801 7th Ave. It is on the north lawn, directly across from the N.E.S.T. Clinic on Cooper St. You can also download b-roll of the display here.

This is a record number of drownings for this time period at Cook Children’s. We installed the display ahead of Memorial Day Weekend in hopes of preventing future drownings as this is typically one of the worst weekends for drowning patients at Cook Children’s.  

Drowning Patient Data from Cook Children’s Medical Center

Year (January – May)Total number of drowningsFatal
202220+3
202180
2020102
201992
2018133
201791

Lifeguard Your Child

Cook Children’s initiated a drowning prevention campaign called Lifeguard Your Child in 2015 in response to a high number of drowning injuries treated in the Emergency Department and medical center that year. The Lifeguard Your Child campaign is spread through the Safe Kids North Texas Coalition, which is based in Fort Worth and led by Cook Children’s.

The campaign’s strategies include Cook Children’s Loaner Life Jacket Stations at many lake entry points across the region. Families can go to the stations to find U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets in a variety of sizes with easy tips for a proper fit.

Safety tips for home swimming pools: 

  • Assign a water watcher, aka an adult who will commit to 100% supervision of children in and around water.
  • Restrict access by installing door locks high out of children’s reach. Door and window alarms can signal if someone leaves the house. 
  • Install four-sided fencing around pools with a self-latching gate that only opens out. The fence should be at least 4 feet (preferably 5 feet) high. 
  • Remove all toys and floats from the pool area so children are not tempted to get close to the water. 
  • For above-ground pools, make sure the ladder is removed and not accessible when it’s not swimming time. 
  • Consider a pool surface alarm to alert if anyone/anything falls into the water. 

Safety tips for the bathtub: 

  • An adult must stay at the side of the tub in reach of the child. 
  • Pay attention. This is not the time for multitasking. 
  • Ignore distractions like the doorbell or phone calls.
  • Drain the tub after each use. 

For more information about drowning prevention, including a full list or resources, go to www.lifeguardyourchild.org

Clarification on the word ‘drowning’:

Cook Children’s follows the World Health Organization’s definition of drowning, which is “the process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion/immersion in liquid; outcomes are classified as death, morbidity and no morbidity.”

Read more here: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/drowning

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