Cati's Story

 Your contribution will help provide Life Jackets to Texas summer camps and could save lives. 

The Facts

Texas leads the nation with the largest number of drownings for children under 15

An average 90 children die per year. That’s two school buses full of children

For every one child that dies, an average of 8 survive but live with devastating injuries.

Knowing these statistics we need to prioritize water safety.  From the minute a child is immersed in education either via a child care center or school they begin to learn about safety.  We teach them about stranger danger, not to cross the street with out an adult and we even integrate fire safety into curriculums.  Knowing that water is the number one killer of children, wouldn’t you think water safety should be taught and prioritized? Wouldn’t you think that child care staff and summer camp staff licensed by the state of Texas to care for your children should be taught the dangers of drowning? Texas requires them to take classes like transportation, baby shaken syndrome and SIDS. Why not water safety? This is why we are beginning with something as simple as life jackets.  Recognizing that if a child can not swim and they are attending a summer camp that will take them to a body of water, a life jacket must be placed on them before entering the gates of that pool or before reaching the body of water. We have met summer camps in Texas who are doing great work in water safety but we also know that many are not aware of the extreme dangers and high death statistics of drowning.  As we deliver these Life Jackets we are not only equipping many summer camps but we are also  teaching the staff and directors about the layers of protection, water safety tips and providing resources that many do not have.  

Many of the camps that apply are in low income areas and with your help we will be able to provide non swimmers with a life jacket. In addition, with your help we can expand water safety education by  teaching and preparing additional summer camp staff and directors.  We want to make it as easy as possible for camps to provide this extra layer of protection. In doing so, we hope they understand the importance of water safety. We know the pain of losing a child and will work to prevent another family from living through what we have. Help us to ensure that not one more child is lost to a preventable drowning.

 

Our Story

Our names are Kori and John DelaPeña and our six-year-old daughter Catiana DelaPeña, Cati, drowned due to the negligent supervision under the care of High Hopes Summer Camp in Cedar Park, Texas, on June 5th, 2019.

 

We instructed the camp administration and staff continuously, both in writing and in person, to put a life jacket on Cati and notified them many times she could not swim. Apparently, our specific instructions repeatedly communicated were not enough.  Despite our clear instructions, the camp failed to put a life jacket on her, and she drowned in a Cedar Park city pool.

 

To our surprise, we discovered the state of Texas does not have policies or procedures that require childcare facilities to put life jackets on children before entering a swimming pool or open waters. This safety gap is what has led us to seek changes in the law through legislation. State Representative, Vicki Goodwin, filed HB1676, and Senator Judith Zaffirini filed SB1297, Cati’s Bill, during the 87th Texas Legislative session.

 

With Cati’s Bill, the summer camps or groups licensed by the state, to care for our children, would be required to properly place and fasten a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket on the child before entering the premises. Because there are many organizations not willing to voluntarily take these precautions, there must be a requirement in place. This would also make these common-sense precautions as enforceable rules by Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS).

 

HB1676 passed the House but did not pass the Senate during the 87th Legislation.  We will continue our work to bring it up again through our 88th legislation. Our focus remains to bring the awareness of the dire need of Water Safety in Texas so our advocacy will continue. 

We hope you’ll consider donating today to help provide life jackets to summer camps across the State of Texas.

 

Thank you John and Kori

Catis Parents

National and State Stakeholders for Cati's ACT

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Water Safety for Public Health - Texas Legislative Agenda