Yuma, Arizona - August has been proclaimed “Drowning Impact Awareness Month” in the City of Yuma by Mayor Alan L. Krieger. This proclamation has also been made for the State ofArizona by Governor Brewer. The purpose is to raise awareness of the number of cases and the impact of child drowning inArizona.
Even thoughArizona is considered a desert state, every year drowning incidents take the lives of the equivalent of a classroom full of children. Children 4 years old and younger are in the highest risk group.
Every year in Arizona an average of 100 people drown. So far this year, in the Phoenix area alone, there have been 36 drowning deaths (12 of which were children) and 126 water related incidents. Yuma has had its share of water incidents, drowning deaths have occurred in our area and only quick action has saved several other children and adults from drowning.
Families can take simple steps to protect their children around water and avoid the tragedy of unnecessary loss of life. The most basic of these steps comes down to constant, responsible, focused, adult supervision of any child around water. Never let a child unattended around water for any length of time. It takes “just a few seconds” for a life to be lost and a family to be changed forever. All too often first responders hear “I was only gone a few seconds” or “I thought someone else was watching them.”
Barrier fencing is another important safety factor for children around pools. Pool owners should ensure there are no gaps in their fencing and that self closing/self latching gates are working properly. Temporary “summer” pools should be kept just as secure, inside fenced/secure areas and emptied when they are not being played in.
Keeping children healthy and safe are the goals of Fire Departments and other prevention institutions in Arizona. “Drowning Impact Awareness Month” is one way to raise awareness and remind people that there is no substitute for constant, responsible, focused, (even relentless!) adult supervision of children around water.