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Water-related child deaths surpass last year’s numbers

Eleven children have died so far this year in water related deaths — already more than last year.

“None of these parents think that this is going to happen to them,” said Ed Swift, founder of Children’s Safety Zone — a site that’s been tracking water related incidents and deaths in Maricopa and Pinal counties for around 15 years.

The Children Safety Zone now gets almost every city in Maricopa and Pinal Counties that report the data in to the site.

“The vast majority of them are great parents,” said Swift, who is also on the board of the Drowning Prevention Coalition.

“They’re attentive, they’re doing everything that they can, to watch their kids around water … there’s just a momentary lapse where tragedy occurs.”

Swift said that a huge percentage of the incidents and fatalities happen at pool parties.

“For a long time we’ve been preaching ‘have a designated water watcher,'” Swift said. “Have a person that wears a baseball cap or something on their wrist that designates you as a water watcher. And then every 15 or 20 minutes, you hand it off to another person.”

Swift said that during a water watcher’s shift, they should never take their eyes off the water.

In addition to pool parties, Swift said it is important to put gates around pools, adding that parents need to learn CPR and children always need to be watched around water.