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City agencies urge water safety following four water-related incidents

Posted at 5:24 PM, Jun 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-20 22:27:54-04

City agencies are urging parents to be cautious when their kids are around water.

In just the last five days, there have been four drownings or near-drownings involving children.

"It's a silent incident and often times we just don’t know that it's happening until it's too late," said Capt. Scott Douglas with the Phoenix Fire Department.

He told ABC15, 95% of children that drown are between the ages of one and four. Capt. Douglas said it's more typical at pools in Arizona.

His advice to parents includes teaching kids to swim, always having an adult in charge of watching the kids, learning CPR and having a pool fence that latches or locks.

But it's not just pools where parents need to be cautious, this week one near-drowning involved a one-year-old.

El Mirage Police said a babysitter left the baby alone in a bathtub.

Sunday, the family asked for prayers as Baby Lorenzo fights for his life.

Capt. Douglas said bathtubs, toilets, even buckets are dangerous around young kids.

"Children one to four, it's actually kind of surprising, but drowning is the leading cause of death in that age group," said Dr. Gary Kirkilas with Phoenix Children's Hospital.

The pediatrician has four kids of his own. He told ABC15, as a parent water safety is an essential life lesson.

"They have to learn how to read," said Dr. Kirkilas. "They have to learn their math, but they have to non-negotiable learn how to swim and be safe around water."

Dr. Kirkilas and other pediatricians at Phoenix Children's are teaming up with SRP to make sure, at check-ups, parents have pool kits and lifesaving safety information.

"A two- or three-year-old is very curious," said Dr. Kirkilas. "They are going to want to go in places where they shouldn’t, so you have to kind of tailor that advice to each child."

Their goal is to provide education that saves lives and help parents become knowledgeable supervisors.

"When we talk about adult supervision, I always say you need to be close constant and capable," said Dr. Kirkilas

Child crisis Arizona is also teaming up with SRP to help Valley families install pool fencing.

They say this is another important layer of protection for kids.

Families living in Maricopa County can apply to get a new fence at no cost if they meet certain requirements.

"That is our goal," said the Family Resources Manager Child Crisis Arizona, Caitlin Sageng. "To be able to provide this resource to those families who know how important it is but just do not have the financial resources to add that to their house."

Requirements include having a child six or younger and meeting income qualifications.

Applications are being accepted until July 5. For more information visit Child Crisis Arizona's website.