Officials preparing for drownings as summer approaches

Amarillo, TX - With summer temperatures making their way into our area, officials are preparing for the increase in drownings that comes with the season.  In the last eight years, thirteen children have drowned in the panhandle.
And despite efforts from various organizations to better educate people, law enforcement says the battle continues.

They call it "a silent killer."

Although many think they will be able to hear a child yelling or splashing around in water, it's often not the case.  And with 31 drownings in the state of Texas this year alone, local officials say something must be done to avoid this preventable death.

"Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death among children, including infants and toddlers," says Child injury prevention coordinator Audra Nuckols. "That's why it's so important whether the child is in the water, whether it's a swimming pool, wading pool, even a bathtub that it's really important to practice touch-supervision."

Touch supervision refers to an adult keeping at least one hand on a child at all times when they are around water.

Amarillo Police Department Sgt. Brent Barbee tells us based on figures, one to 4-year-olds are most prone to drown.

"There's no substitute for supervision. That's the very first thing especially with these temperatures. Pools where the kid is used to going in and out and with mom there and the pool' still there.

Nuckols says with many in this day and age being preoccupied with their phones and other devices, it's becoming more common for adults to forget about supervising their children.

"Drowning really is a silent death," says Nuckols."That's why whenever you are on your phone, texting, talking, playing games, talking to those around you and your attention isn't 100% on that kiddo that's in the water, you can very quickly and very easily miss a child drowning."

With drownings in summer being more common, Sgt. Barbee tells us the department handles missing person calls with an added detail.

"One of the first things we do when we get to the scene of a reported small child missing is to see if there's any water around---do you guys have a pool? An inflatable pool? Do you have any neighbors with a pool? Hot tubs anything like that, because that's a time- critical thing that we need to attend to first," says Barbee.

Both Barbee and Nuckols remind only takes six inches of water to drown.