Cook Children's Medical Center seeing spike in drownings, near drownings this year

Cook Children's Medical Center says its doctors have treated an alarming number of near-drownings and drowning victims this year. Three have already died.

One North Texas mother shared just how easy it is for a child to be in immediate danger.

Alicia Mills recalled the day back in February 2020 that started as a happy Saturday at their Granbury home.

"We were just having some neighborhood friends over," she recalled. "We were on the ranch, and he walked away for one minute."

Mills’ baby boy, 21-month-old Beau Barron, had wandered away from the house and followed a horse to the other side of their property.

"We had an empty pool on our property, and it had rained, and it was this much water," she recalled.

Beau was rushed to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, where he later died.

The Mills family is not alone.

According to the Children’s Safety Network, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children under 4.

So far this year, Cook Children’s has had three drownings and 14 near drownings. It’s more than double what they saw during the same time period last year.

Dana Walraven with Injury Prevention at Cook Children’s says the spike could also be tied to families eager to get back outside after being isolated during the pandemic. She wants to remind parents that young children tend to gravitate towards water out of curiosity.

"Try to put things in place like getting your child in swim lessons or just preliminary safety lessons where they can learn to float on their back," she said.

It’s advice that Mills relays at the Beau Bear Foundation created in memory of her happy little boy with the big blue eyes.

"He was our ranch kid. Like he loved being outside and barefoot and all those great things. He was kind of our wild child. And he just loved life," she said. "Life can be taken in the blink of an eye. So love your kids well and love your family well."