Report shows Arizona child drownings in 2021 doubled from previous year

Nov 21, 2022, 7:45 AM
(Pixabay Photo)...
(Pixabay Photo)
(Pixabay Photo)

PHOENIX — According to a recent report, 44 children in Arizona died from drowning in 2021, double the amount from the year before.

The report, led by the Arizona Child Fatality Review team, found that drowning was the most common cause of death for children between the ages of 1 and 4.

“This year’s report is especially devastating to us,” Tiffaney Isaacson, senior injury prevention specialist with Phoenix Children’s Hospital, told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

The report from the Arizona Department of Health Services annually tracks all causes of child deaths in the state while also aiming to reduce preventable child fatalities through a thorough, multidisciplinary review process.

“So, as we roll into the holiday season and a time when there are going to be lots of family gatherings, we really want caregivers to understand how important it is to protect their children from drowning.”

Issacson works with parents during well-child visits to help keep caregivers on the offensive when it comes to child safety. Her goal is to put as many barriers in place as possible to ensure kids remain safe.

“We need to make sure that the [pool] gate is closed,” Isaacson said. “We need to make sure that the doors are locked and we need to set an alarm on the back door, if we have that ability, so that we know the moment that children get out of the house without adult supervision.”

The injury prevention specialist emphasized that this can be difficult to remember when it starts to get cold, on top of remembering additional tasks during the holiday season.

“Sometimes being with our family relieves our stress and sometimes being with our family makes our stress go up.

“If you’re having a difficult day, it’s not a day to be out near the pool area with the children. So, sometimes you may want to opt to have a family gathering at a house that doesn’t have a pool,” she said.

Or if you are near pool and are tired, head home, put a video on for the kids and take time for yourself, Isaacson suggested.

“Because when caregivers feel present and well-rested, and they have the support that they need they’re able to supervise their children better,” she said.

But if a barrier is breached, there are still ways a parent can work to protect their child.

The most effective way to prevent a child from drowning is to teach them how to swim after the age of 1, according to the report.

Other top causes of death last year that were deemed preventable among children included firearms, suicide and motor vehicle accidents.

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Report shows Arizona child drownings in 2021 doubled from previous year