With child drownings on the rise, Uresti touts "See and Save" campaign
SAN ANTONIO — With the summer vacation season barely half over, Texas is on track to surpass last year's record number of child drowning deaths, prompting Sen. Carlos Uresti to urge caution and common sense as the year progresses.
According to the Department of Family and Protective Services, DFPS, 72 Texas children have drowned this year, including 30 in June alone. An average of 70 children have drowned each year since the department began its count in 2005.
In 2008, 82 children drowned, the highest annual total, followed by 70 in 2006, 66 in 2005 and 63 in 2007.
"Losing a young child in this way is devastating to families," Uresti said. "Drowning deaths are totally preventable, making them all the more tragic."
Citing federal statistics, the DFPS said children under age one most often drown in bathtubs, buckets, or toilets, while those from one to four most often drown in residential swimming pools. Most young children who drowned in pools were last seen in the home, had been out of sight less than five minutes, and were in the care of one or both parents at the time.
"All it takes to lose a small child is one moment of distraction," Uresti said. "Parents and other caregivers must be vigilant in watching over their kids, particularly in homes with swimming pools."
Sasha Rasco, DFPS assistant commissioner for Child Care Licensing, says that children should never be left unsupervised for any length of time in or around water.
"If you can't see a child, you can't save a child," she said.
Uresti and DFPS Commissioner Anne Heiligenstein urged all parents and caregivers to remember to "see and save” their children when they are near water.
For more information about children and water safety, please visit the "See and Save" Web site at www.seeandsave.org.
"There's plenty of summer left, and I hope we can end it without a single additional drowning," Uresti said. "Summer should be a time of fun, not tragedy."
Senator Uresti represents Senate District 19, a 55,000 square mile area extending from the city of San Antonio in Bexar County to the Lower Valley of El Paso County and including approximately 750,000 people. The largest legislative district in the nation, it spans two time zones and contains nine of the 14 border counties in Texas, two-thirds of the U.S.-Mexico border within Texas, and all or part of 23 counties. Senate District 19 is home to five U.S. ports of entry, three U.S. toll bridges, 62 school districts, seven military sites, six state parks, and two national parks.