The Phoenix area has suffered two fatalities and a non-fatal drowning involving children under the age of 5 this week. This is distressing as each water-related incident for both adults and children are preventable, according to the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona.
Unfortunately, the Journal of Pediatrics reports that more than 1000 children drown each year in the United States. And those that survive often suffer severe and long-tern disabilities.
“It’s warmer than usual this time of year in Arizona. Doors are open and children want to be outside,” says Lori Schmidt, DPCA president. “It is important to renew the vigilance. Drownings can be prevented.”
Families must recognize the danger that water can pose and take steps to reduce the risk of this happening to them. The DPCA offers these tips:
Block: Block access to water. Put an approved barrier around or over the pool and maintain it. Use a safety cover on the spa. Empty anything that holds water, like buckets, or move it so children do not have unattended access to it. Shut the door to bathrooms. Ensure drain covers on pools and spas are in good condition.
Watch: When in or near water, children must be supervised. This means that the caregiver’s eyes are on the child and not distracted by yard work, cooking or even just enjoying a magazine. Use life jackets in the pool or on open water – especially if the individual doesn’t know how to swim. If a child is not expected to be around water but goes missing, check every water hazard before looking anywhere else. Precious moments lost can mean the difference between life and death.
Learn: Adults and children must know how to swim. Water awareness classes can begin as early as 9 months old. Classes will not drown-proof anyone, but it is another layer of protection. Caregivers must also understand how to do CPR. Getting oxygen to the brain as quickly as possible has proven to improve survivability in drowning victims.
For more information and resources – including how to apply for a free pool fence – visit the DPCA website at www.preventdrownings.org.
As families prepare to celebrate the last 3-day weekend of the summer, the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona stresses the importance of vigilance and layers of protection.
“Distractions and lack of barriers are the most common broken links in the injury prevention chain for drownings,” says Lori Schmidt, President of the DPCA. “This is especially true during holiday weekends. When adults are busy with guests, food preparation and entertaining, children often find themselves with easy access to the water.”
The Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona and water safety advocates join together for a public family-friendly event designed to educate the community about the importance of safety around water on Saturday, May 11, 2013.
The “Getting to the Pointe of Water Safety” event and Shark-fest fundraiser will be held at The Hole-In-The-Wall River Ranch at Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort.