Heading to the pool or beach with the kids? Designate a water-watcher.

Spending time at the pool, lake or ocean goes hand-in-hand with the hot summer months. Keeping kids safe and healthy while engaging in fun summer activities can be challenging for parents. Tragically, children ages 1 to 4 have the highest drowning rates, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Samuel J. Prater, M.D., Medical Director of Emergency Services for Memorial Hermann-TMC and an assistant professor of Emergency Medicine at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, warns that despite what you see depicted in the movies and on TV, “drowning typically happens silently and in as little as 30 seconds.”

That’s why Dr. Prater recommends implementing a “Water-Watcher” system or program with your family and friends, where a few responsible adults or teens trade off shifts to supervise children playing in the water. “There is no substitute for an active, engaged and sober water-watcher whose full focus remains on the children while they’re in the water,” says Dr. Prater. “This should be a responsible adult or teen who is actively supervising kids to make sure there are no drowning or near-drowning incidents.”

To see more of Dr. Prater’s water safety tips as part of Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital’s Parent Survival Guide, click here.

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