Is your child safe on the water? The BRA wants to help!

It couldn’t happen to my child. Could it?

Nobody thinks it will happen to them. But, roughly 10 people drown each day in America, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And, drowning is 100 percent preventable.

The Brazos River Authority wants to help make your child’s visit to the lake or pool as safe as possible by making learning about water safety fun and giving them a free life jacket as part of the fourth annual Lake Granbury Water Safety Awareness Day.

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 18 at Rough Creek Park, 2209 South Morgan St. in Granbury the free event will again include free life jackets for children while supplies last. This year, Carter Blood Care will also hold a blood drive at the festivities, and will even stay an hour later than the actual event to ensure anyone willing to participate has time to do so. The blood drive will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Water safety messages can never be heard enough, and reminders to take care around water can be done in fun and engaging ways for all ages. Even for those who have been out before, re-hearing and reinforcing water safety techniques and measures can be lifesaving.

Every layer of protection is important to ensure not even one life is lost, as drownings are 100 percent preventable, said Kyle Lewis, BRA Lake Granbury Lake Ranger and Permit Officer. “We’ve all seen too much bad stuff,” said Lewis, who has spent 30 years in law enforcement. “If we prevent one, or two, or three, or any amount (of drownings), that’s great.”

There remains a large misconception that drowning is loud, involves splashing, and someone bobbing up and down in the water, Lewis said. “It is sudden. It is silent,” he said. Looking away for just a moment could be a moment too long.

At the end of the day, it’s about making sure everyone goes home safe, he said.

There were an average of 3,536 fatal, unintentional, non-boating related drownings annually between 2005 and 2014 in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That equates to roughly 10 deaths a day.

About one in five people who drown are children 14 and younger, and for every child’s drown, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Each year, the BRA’s Water Safety event has steadily grown to include more guests, more life vest giveaways and more participation by other organizations throughout the surrounding community, Lewis said. Roughly 18 organizations will be on hand and 95.3 FM K-HITS will do a live remote broadcast from the festivities while visitors enjoy free hot dogs and bottled water while they last.

The Upper Trinity Groundwater Conservation District has a water cycle interactive trailer that is really incredible and everyone enjoys, Lewis said. There will be fly fishing demonstrations with biologists from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department discussing a variety of interesting topics, he said. TPWD’s Kid Fish program will help children learn to cast a line and perhaps catch a fish!

The BRA Lake Granbury office will close early the Friday before the event so all employees can “spit shine” Rough Creek Park before the festivities, Lewis said, with a laugh. The event is just that important, he said.

This year’s sponsors include:

  • KID FISH by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
  • Cook Children’s Hospital - SAFE Kids Tarrant County
  • Lake Granbury Marina and Stumpy’s Lakeside Grill
  • Pecan Plantation Fly Fishing Group
  • Academy Sports + Outdoors
  • Creations Child Care and Learning Center
  • Marksmen Firearms
  • YMCA
  • Lake Granbury Medical Center
  • Texas EMS and local first responders
  • Upper Trinity Groundwater Conservation District
  • Alluring Pools and Outdoors
  • Radiant Swim School
  • Carter BloodCare
  • And, many others.

Lake Granbury Reservoir Manager Connie Tucker said she wanted to thank the community for their support of the event for the past three years, enabling the office to continue to a fourth event.

“We do our best to highlight all aspects of water safety in an entertaining and enlightening manner with our participants, so every member of the family can enjoy it,” Tucker said. “We’ve learned that the event can continue rain or shine (but not with a deluge), and if it saves just one child from danger, we’ve fulfilled our purpose.”

Cook Children’s Hospital has served as a big partner during the events, Lewis said, offering several water safety tips at lifeguardyourchild.org, including:

  • A recommended “toe in/vest on” policy in or out of the boat. If a toe is in the water, a life jacket goes on.
  • Wear life vests with U.S. Coast Guard-approved labels. If the lifejacket doesn’t say “US Coast Guard Approved” or “USCG approved,” you can assume it’s not safe.
  • Children drown silently, so designate a Water Watcher to watch children and teens, if possible, in and around all water.
  • Learning CPR can be the difference between life and death.
  • Drownings are eight times more likely to happen to children that do not know how to swim or are being supervised by adults that do not know how to swim. Make swim lessons a family affair.
  • Swimming lessons are just one layer of protection and do not guarantee safety. Even strong swimmers can drown.
  • Floaties are not a lifesaving device. Use a U.S. Coast Guard approved life vest instead.

For more water safety tips from Cooks Children's Hospital, go here.