Addressing a spike in drownings in Central Texas this year, The ZAC Foundation, Colin’s Hope, Dell Children’s Medical Center, and Safe Kids Austin invited families impacted by drowning, aquatics professionals, first responders, health professionals, water safety advocates, public policy experts and community leaders, among others, to discuss and develop a goal-oriented, time-bound community action plan to improve water safety in Central Texas on Tuesday, October 15.
Organizers include Alissa Magrum, Executive Director of Colin’s Hope; Megan Ferraro, Executive Director of The ZAC Foundation; Stewart Williams, Injury Prevention Manager at Dell Children’s Medical Center, Carlee McConnell, Safe Kids Austin Coordinator at Dell Children’s Medical Center, and Amanda Barczyk, Associate Director of Research at Dell Children’s Trauma and Injury Research Center.
The Central Texas Drowning Prevention Roundtable is similar to other ongoing efforts launched by The ZAC Foundation in St. Louis, Missouri; Chicago, Illinois; and Fairfield County, Connecticut where the foundation is based, with the goal of developing a national drowning prevention model.
Drowning is the number one cause of unintentional injury death for children ages 1 to 4 and the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for children under the age of 14, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This year, there have been 85 fatal child drownings in Texas alone. In 2018, there were 91 fatal child drownings, up from 77 in 2017. In Central Texas counties, specifically Travis, Williamson, Hays and Bastrop. There have been 10 fatal child drownings this year compared to 2 in 2018 and 4 in 2017. Additionally, over 40 children have been treated at Dell Children’s Medical Center this year for a non-fatal drowning and there have been multiple adult drownings in area lakes.
“After a shocking number of drownings in Texas, particularly in Central Texas, we felt it was imperative to work with Colin’s Hope to develop a Drowning Prevention Action Plan in the area,” said Karen Cohn, co-founder of The ZAC Foundation. “The ZAC Foundation is honored to help the Central Texas community keep its families and children safe in and around the water.”
“We are honored to be co-hosting this roundtable in our own community. At Colin’s Hope, we work tirelessly year-round to educate children and families to be safer around water with a goal to prevent drowning. This year, Central Texas saw far too many drownings in our own community in ALL kinds of water. We MUST work together strategically to end drowning. As Colin used to say, THAT would be a BEST DAY EVER!” Jeff Holst, Co-Founder of Colin’s Hope and Colin’s Dad.
“Dell Children’s Injury Prevention Program and Safe Kids Austin recognize the impact of childhood drowning in Central Texas. Together, we commit to addressing and finding solutions to this preventable public health issue in our community.” Stewart Williams, Injury Prevention Manager at Dell Children’s Medical Center.
The ZAC Foundation/Rubenstein: Emily Gest, firstname.lastname@example.org, 212-843-8061
Alissa Magrum, Colin’s Hope, email@example.com 512-294-3910
Carlee McConnell, Dell Children’s Medical Center, firstname.lastname@example.org, 512-633-7336