Local parents advocate for water safety in memory of their son

Mark and Christi Brown have been helping educate the community about drowning prevention since their son Judah passed away in 2016 after drowning in a pool at age 3.

Mark and Christi Brown have been helping educate the community about drowning prevention since their son Judah passed away in 2016 after drowning in a pool at age 3.

When 3-year-old Judah Brown died after an accidental drowning in September 2016, his preschool teacher, Annette Courtney, called his mother, Christi Brown, and asked how she could help. Brown told Courtney she wanted other parents to know about the dangers of drowning before this happened to any other families.


“I was kind of angry that the pediatricians hadn’t told me any of this for any of my kids,” Brown said. “They talk about car seat safety all the time and won’t even let you leave the hospital without a properly fitted car seat. But they don’t talk about water safety, and yet it’s the No. 1 cause of accidental death [in children ages 1-4].”


Courtney launched the nonprofit Judah Brown Project by creating drowning prevention pamphlets, which are now in more than 200 pediatrician offices across 38 states, Brown said.


The organization has since evolved to offer scholarships for survival swimming lessons for young children, education in schools, CPR classes and support to other families who have lost children to drownings, she said.


Brown said she thinks traditional swimming lessons—including those Judah had as a child—often promote confidence before competence. Alternatively, survival swimming lessons prioritize equipping children with proper skills, she said. Infants can start these one-on-one lessons as early as 6-7 months old.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, formal swimming lessons can decrease the risk of drowning by 88% in young children.


In 2018, the Judah Brown Project funded survival swimming lessons for 21 children, and officials said they plan to do the same for more than 40 children in 2019. This helps bridge the gap for families who may not be able to afford proper swimming lessons for their young children, Brown said.


“We don’t think swimming lessons should be a privilege,” she said. “We think they’re a right, and everyone has the right to learn how to save themselves in an emergency situation.”


In addition to ensuring children learn how to swim at an early age, the organization promotes additional layers of protection, including constant supervision.


Judah Brown Project ambassadors recommend designating responsible adults to act as the “water watchers” for 15-minute shifts at a time. During each shift, supervisors should devote their full attention to observing children in the pool, and supervisors of preschool children should be close enough to reach the child at all times, Brown said.


Flotation device safety education is another aspect of the organization’s work.


Brown said Judah wore a puddle jumper that gave him a false sense of security, making him think he could float any time he was in the water. He drowned after getting back into the pool without one, and she said it only took four minutes for his brain to be deprived of oxygen.


Since his death, more than 300 children across Texas have drowned, Brown said.


Judah’s father, Mark Brown, said he hopes to see the Judah Brown Project contribute to the eradication of child drownings and spread awareness about the issue until it rivals parent awareness about car seat safety. 


“We want to present information to as many people as possible that, if we had read three years ago, we could have avoided tragedy,” he said.






832-618-6382
www.judahbrownproject.org

By


MOST RECENT

The 2020 U.S. Census response rate is already lagging behind 2010 numbers, and officials said the shortened timeline only increases the chances of an undercount. (Community Impact staff)
Shortened census timeline could shortchange Houston, its most vulnerable communities

The 2020 U.S. Census response rate is already lagging behind 2010 numbers, and officials said the shortened timeline only increases the chances of an undercount.

The farm-to-table restaurant plans to create 90 jobs and offer familiar American meals. (Courtesy Whiskey Cake)
Whiskey Cake restaurant to open in The Woodlands and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

Cypress Christian School is located on Cypress North Houston Road in the Cy-Fair area. (Courtesy Cypress Christian School)
Cypress Christian School prepares to start 2020-21 school year Aug. 13

With plans to open next week, Executive Director Jeff Potts said the school’s admissions office has been busier than ever heading into a unique school year.

Visitors line up in front of Northwest Assistance Ministries to request rental assistance. (Courtesy Northwest Assistance Ministries)
Northwest Assistance Ministries now accepting online applications for rental, mortgage assistance

According to the release, NAM officials will randomly select 100 applicants every Thursday afternoon from the correctly completed online applications and contact those individuals to schedule an appointment.

The overall death total in Harris County hit 805, with the majority of deaths—78%—occurring in individuals ages 60 and older. (Community Impact staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: 17 deaths confirmed Aug. 5, including man in his 20s

The overall death total hit 805, with the majority of deaths—78%—occurring in individuals ages 60 and older.

The Confederate Soldiers Monument stands on the south grounds of the Texas Capitol. A group of Democratic lawmakers have called for its removal, along with other statues and portraits honoring the Confederacy. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
State legislators seek removal of Confederate monuments at Texas Capitol

The decision may ultimately lie with Gov. Greg Abbott and the rest of the State Preservation Board, which last year authorized the removal of a plaque in the Capitol that said slavery was not an underlying cause of the Confederate rebellion.

The new facility is located on Telge Road. (Courtesy Capt. Daniel Arizpe, PIO/Cy-Fair Fire Department)
PHOTOS: Cy-Fair Fire Department, Harris County ESD No. 9 open new facility

This former mattress manufacturing warehouse now features meeting and training rooms, a fitness space and a vehicle maintenance facility for the department.

Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Splashtown will remain closed for the 2020 season due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, park officials announced Aug. 4. (Courtesy Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Splashtown)
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Splashtown to remain closed for 2020 season

According to the announcement, all 2020 Hurricane Harbor Splashtown season passes and pre-purchased tickets will be valid for the 2021 season.

A total of 723 of the new cases were confirmed in Harris County outside of the city of Houston, which is the most to be confirmed outside of the city in a single day. (Community Impact staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: 1,438 new cases, 22 deaths confirmed Aug. 4

A total of 723 of the new cases were confirmed in Harris County outside of the city of Houston, which is the most to be confirmed outside of the city in a single day.

With some Harris County residents waiting up to two weeks to get test results, the county has announced a maximum turnaround time of 3-5 days on county-sponsored tests moving forward. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Harris County announces evening testing hours, faster turnaround on COVID-19 tests

With some Harris County residents waiting up to two weeks to get test results, the county has announced a maximum turnaround time of 3-5 days on county-sponsored tests moving forward.