PHOENIX — August is Drowning Impact Awareness Month, and one Valley hospital is kicking it off with a ribbon campaign.
Phoenix Children’s Hospital will be placing 800 ribbons on trees around its area Friday. That’s one for each Arizona child or teen who either died or was injured in a drowning incident since 2000.
There will also be displays in honor of children who have drowned, with special messages from parents. The event gets underway around 9:30 a.m., with proclamations from Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and mayors from across Arizona. There also will be fire engines and advocates representing support from across the Valley of the Sun.
Tiffany Issacson, who is the coordinator at the Center for Family Health and Safety at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, said the campaign is to raise awareness of the importance of drowning prevention. She says that child drownings are a major problem in Arizona.
“We’re about 25 percent higher when you look at children newborn on up to age 18,” said Issacson. “When we focus on children between the ages of 1 and 4 years old, we’re about double the national rate in terms of risk of drowning.”
Issacson said there are several things to remember when you head out to the pool with your kids.
“Bring bottled water,” she said. “Bring your sunblock. Turn your cell phone off, so that you’re not distracted, and designate a person who is going to be the boss of the pool area.”
Issacson said kids who get cranky and have a temper tantrum can be a sign that they are ready to get out of the pool. When that happens, get them back into the house to cool off. Have them play an indoor game or watch a movie on TV to pass the time.
She also said the hospital is inviting people to pick up a ribbon and wear it as a reminder.
“Wear your purple ribbon in the month of August to remind yourself about important steps like checking a pool gate when you finish family swim time,” Issacson said.
Arizona usually sees an increase in drowning incidents between the last week of July and Labor Day weekend.