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Kids' pool safety in Dec. deteriorated

Jan. 10, 2007

Drowning-free summer followed by lethal winter

After a drowning-free summer, Phoenix had a deadly December.

Parents and caregivers are asked to always be vigilant, even during colder weather.

Four Valley children were pulled from backyard pools last month, and one did not survive. That's equal to the average number of children involved in water-related incidents during an entire winter season in Maricopa County. advertisement

"Consistency is critical," said Tiffaney Isaacson, water safety coordinator for Water Watchers at Phoenix Children's Hospital . "We have to be as vigilant in December as we are in August. That's really difficult for caregivers, with all the distractions of the holidays."

Isaacson said cold weather may cause parents to be less vigilant around backyard pools. She said lower temperatures may also contribute to a misperception about the serious nature of water-related incidents.

"Many children are expected to fare better if they are pulled from cold water, suggesting it provides a protective effect," Isaacson said. "However, these cases generally involve water that is much colder than can be found in Maricopa County."

A study from the Irish Medical Journal examining incidents in temperate climates such as Arizona's found that a reduced core body temperature is an indicator of a negative outcome and is associated with prolonged immersion.

"The bottom line is that water, be it cold or warm, is deadly to children without supervision," Isaacson said. "We shouldn't assume the backyard pool is less deadly in the winter than it is in the summer."

To protect children, always follow the ABCs of water safety. Maintain adult supervision, always have barriers between children and water, and keep up on classes in cardiopulmonary resuscitation for adults and swimming lessons at the appropriate age so everyone will know what to do in case of an emergency.
Reproduced with permission from:
The Arizona Republic
Copyright 2007 Arizona Republic

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