Water Safety Information for Parents

Children and teens may be at different risk for drowning, depending on their age.  Looking at the rate of drownings “per capita,” or by population, allows us to understand how many children and teens drown.

  Child & Teen Drowning Rate – 2009 to 2013

Toddlers and preschoolers, or children ages one to four, are the highest risk age group.  With a drowning rate nearly double the national rate, Arizona had 93 toddler drownings from 2009 to 2013.  Most of these drownings happened in pools, but any type of water can be a danger to a toddler. 

Constant, capable adult supervision is critical for all children and teens, but especially for toddlers and preschoolers.  Review these supervision tips by the pool to make sure you have a plan to keep kids safe.

During swim time, remember that toys like beach balls and arm floaties are fun, but toys don’t help to keep your child safe.  If you want a device that adds more safety to the constant, capable supervision you provide during family swim time, consider life jacket use for toddlers and preschoolers by the pool.

When family swim-time ends, a safe backyard, including a childproof pool area is critical. 

Want a free resource to help you put together your custom water safety plan?  Check out the Playing it Safe water safety program!

Infants are also at high risk for drowning in Arizona - from 2009 to 2013, our rate was more than twice the national rate - 11 infants drowned during this time period.

The first year with a baby brings beautiful memories, and also many challenges.  Check out this information on indoor water safety to make sure you’re prepared to keep your baby safe at home. 

You might expect children in grade school to be the next-highest risk group for drowning, but the drowning rate for older teens (ages 15 to 17 drowning) is actually more than two and a half times the rate for Arizona grade school and junior high students.  From 2009 to 2013, 14 teens drowned in Arizona in this age group. 

Parenting teens is tricky.  New freedoms like driving, travelling, and jobs can make them look and feel very adult.  But parents of teens know that their sons and daughters are still growing on the inside, even if they’re taller and bigger than us on the outside.  Sharing water safety information for teens is critical. 

Finally, grade school and junior high children and teens need water safety rules and information, too.  While Arizona children and teens in this group had a drowning rate about 20% lower than the national rate, the 20 drowning deaths that occurred in Arizona between 2009 to 2013 were preventable.

How can you begin the conversation about water safety with your grade-school child?  Check out:

In addition to reminding adults about the importance of constant, capable adult supervision, preparing for emergencies can help you protect children and teens of all ages. 

Regardless of their age, special needs children and teens need water safety rules, too.  Start with these ideas to begin your water safety plan, then visit with parents of other special needs children and teens to see what has worked for them.

Does your family love to get outside and enjoy the beautiful Arizona sunshine? 

Pool parties are how great summer memories are made. But pool parties can mean increased risk of child drowning, if you don’t have a plan in place to keep children safe.  Check out these pool party rules before your next bar-b-que by the pool.

You may spend time alongside one a canal when you walk or bike – there are more than 100 miles of canal in the Valley of the Sun!  Follow these canal safety rules to make sure your time is fun and safe.

Or, you might visit one of the beautiful Arizona rivers and lakes.  These river and lake safety tips help you to make sure the day is fun and safe.  Don’t forget to pack enough life jackets for everyone on the boat!

Working together with members of the community and organizations that support families is the best part of the Injury Prevention Center’s work.  A great example is the annual Drowning Impact Awareness Month campaign. 

The month of August in Arizona means back-to-school, and long, hot days. Unfortunately, the hot weather and distraction of back-to-school also spells increased risk for child drownings. 

Phoenix Children’s Hospital wants families to take the right steps today, to save a child’s life. That’s why we’re proud to bring the Annual Drowning Impact Awareness Month to Arizona families.  This statewide effort focuses on purple ribbons to remember those touched by child drownings, and encourages safety around the water.  Drowning Impact Awareness Month is Arizona’s largest collaborative effort to prevent drownings.

Since the first year of this vital campaign, nearly 1,000,000 purple ribbons have been distributed. The effort includes ribbons worn by supporters, proclamations from the Governor and Mayors across the state, events, and a statewide focus on water safety.

If you'd like to get involved, you can share water safety tips like water safety tips for pool parties, request and distribute ribbons or donate to the program. Ribbons are also available at select locations.

What else you can do:

  • Wear purple awareness ribbons.
  • Include water safety messages in business communication, church newsletters, homeowner’s association information, and conversations with friends.
  • Request a Playing it Safe workshop for yourself and other parents of toddlers.
  • Spread the word about existing efforts for maximum attention and support.

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