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Information and inspiration for parents and caregivers of babies, toddlers and preschoolers

Arizona’s young children drowning rate is double the national rate

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It’s a number that is shocking, but not surprising. Children between the ages of 1 and 4 in Arizona are drowning at nearly two times the national rate, according to an article on azcentral.com.

According to the article, the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona, which compiles statistics on water-related incidents, reports nine of the 28 water-related deaths in Maricopa and Pinal counties this year through July 30 were children 5 or under.

Since pool weather in Arizona lasts for months beyond traditional summer, the best thing families can do is to always keep water safety top of mind.

The coalition encourages parents and caretakers of kids under 5 to follow the ABCs of pool safety to prevent drownings.

A for adult supervision

  • A sober adult must always be with children around water.
  • The adult must watch swimmers with their eyes and not be doing anything else.
  • They shouldn’t be reading, talking on the phone, or doing chores like yard work or washing the car.

B for barriers

  • Make sure your pool and/or spa has an effective barrier, such as a fence to help guard against unauthorized access.
  • Your pool or spa should have a barrier regardless of whether they are covered.
  • Door and windows leading to the pool areas should be locked.
  • Fence gates should have self-closing, self-latching mechanisms.  Latches need to be out of reach of young children.

C for Coast Guard approved life vests and classes

  • Anyone who does not know how to swim must wear a Coast Guard approved life vest. Floaties and toys do not count as a life vest.
  • Everyone should take swimming lessons to learn how to swim.
  • Learn how to administer CPR, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and other lifesaving techniques. To administer CPR correctly you must be properly trained.

Other Pool Safety Tips

  • Do not allow children to play in or around the pool area.
  • Mount life saving devices near the pool.
  • Keep tables, chairs and ladders away from pool fences.
  • Check placement of doggie doors for direct access to pool area.
  • Post your local emergency number on the phone.  Think about installing a phone near the pool area.

If you find a child in any source of water:

  • Yell for help and pull the child out of the water.
  • Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number immediately!
  • Begin CPR if you are trained.
  • If you are not trained to administer CPR, follow the instructions from the 9-1-1 operator until help arrives.

Ofelia Gonzalez is a public information officer at First Things First. You can reach her at ogonzalez@firstthingsfirst.org.​

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