Firefighters urge parents to be mindful regarding kids and pools

Georgetown Recreation Center

GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — In light of a Cedar Park toddler who died after being found in a pool, firefighters are sending a reminder to prevent future deaths.

Two-year old Jackson Chiu was found by his mother in the backyard swimming pool of a Cedar Park home Tuesday.

Shelie Moore keeps a close eye on her boys as they swim at the rec center in Georgetown. They’re now six and eight years old, but Moore learned early on what could happen, when her son was a toddler and almost drowned in a baby pool.

“His whole head went under and he just couldn’t recoup,” said Moore. “In not even two feet of water, it was scary.”

Thankfully Moore saw him in time. Parents aren’t always that lucky. That’s why the Georgetown Fire Department created a video, to show how quickly kids can drown.

Lt. Jonathan Gilliam has responded to several drowning calls. He says it doesn’t get easier.

“We’re all human and most of us have children, usually around the same age so it’s traumatizing for us too,” said Lt. Gilliam.

The big thing we hear is don’t turn your back to kids when they’re swimming, even in a public pool. In a personal pool, emergency crews say to have security measures
in place, like some type of fence directly around the pool.

“If your child does get out into the backyard, if you have a pool, make sure that it’s not just an open gate,” said Lt. Gilliam.

Georgetown city code also requires all doors with direct access to the pool to have an alarm which goes off when the door is opened.

“I do my best to watch them very closely and not take my eyes off,” said Moore. She said there’s no substitute for direct eye contact to ensure her kids are safe while splashing around.

Emergency responders say a kid usually isn’t yelling or splashing when they’re struggling in the water. They say you may just see their head bob up and down, which is why it’s important to always watch children in the water.

So far this year, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services has recorded dozens of child drownings. There has been a total of 56 drownings this year and at least five have happened in Central Texas.

Many of the drownings have happened in a backyard or community pool. They’ve also happened at a lake or beach. At least eight children have drowned in a bath tub this year. Another child was found in a septic tank and another in a storm drain.

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