Phoenix Children’s Asks, “Who is Your Water Watcher?”
In the Wake of Two Recent Child Drownings, Constant, Capable Supervisors Are Vital Beside the Pool.
PHOENIX, Ariz. (April 20, 2011) As a leader in child drowning prevention, Phoenix Children’s Hospital constantly works to convey the very latest evidence-based information to Arizona families. In the wake of two child drownings this weekend, Phoenix Children’s reminds all families to ask, “Who is your Water Watcher?”
On Saturday, a three year old girl drowned in a family pool in Mesa, and a seven year old girl drowned in an above-ground pool in Phoenix. On Tuesday, a toddler was sent to a hospital in critical condition from water incident in the bathtub. Five children to date have drowned in Maricopa County. “Constant, capable supervision is a must when children have access to the water,” says Tiffaney Isaacson, Water Safety Coordinator for Water Watchers at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. “We have to really think about who that supervisor is, and how he or she can be effective. If we don’t, the consequences can be tragic.”
To ensure proper supervision, parents and caregivers should:
• Know who is in charge. Often, in a group setting, everyone thinks someone else is watching the children. Designate with a Water Watcher tag. Call 602-546-1712 for materials, or to request a “Playing it Safe” parent water safety presentation.
• Know who can swim, and who cannot. Non-swimming adults are not able to make a rescue, and therefore, should not be the “Water Watcher.” Non-swimming children need to be within “touch distance” of the Water Watcher. Using a life vest when there are non-swimming children in the water can reduce the risk of a drowning.
• Give the Water Watcher a break. Professional lifeguards know supervision can’t be fresh for hours at a time. Taking breaks helps. Also, don’t ask one adult to supervise too many children, especially those under the age of five. Add more supervision for large gatherings or busy pools.
• Keep up CPR. In a water-related emergency, seconds count. Make sure your supervisor has current CPR skills.
• Be able recognize a drowning. Adults and children may look like they are swimming, when in fact they are in need of a rescue. Drowning can be entirely silent, and when in doubt, the Water Watcher should act immediately to perform a rescue.
• Insist on sobriety. Just as the driver of a car should not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, neither should the Water Watcher.
About Phoenix Children’s Hospital
Phoenix Children’s Hospital is Arizona’s only licensed children’s hospital, providing world-class care in more than 40 pediatric specialties to children from throughout the state and region. Though Phoenix Children’s is one of the ten largest freestanding children’s hospitals in the country, it is in the midst of a major expansion to meet the needs of the Southwest’s rapid population growth. The signature element of the expansion is a new 11-story, 750,000-square-foot tower which will enable the hospital to grow from 345 licensed beds today to a total of 626 licensed beds once the project is complete. The hospital’s expansion also includes an aggressive physician recruitment effort and new satellite centers in high growth areas of the Valley. For more information, visit the hospital’s web site at www.phoenixchildrens.com.