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Protecting children around water, drowning prevention tips

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Already this summer there have been three child drownings in Yuma. A 2-year old and a 3-year old drowned in backyard pools back in June. Most recently, another 2-year old passed away after drowning this past week.

“It only takes minutes. Really seconds for a child to drown.”

Earlier this week, Yuma Fire Department was dispatched to another child drowning in Yuma County.

A door and a doggie door both lead into the backyard which is something that could be an easy outlet for toddlers.

“They just have such a dramatically high level of curiosity, they're drawn to water, they're drawn to doggie doors, they watch the dog go through, or they just see hey, that's my size, that's down at my level. I wonder what's on the other side.”

Dr. James Leiferman explains how this tragedy could play out.

“It's unanticipated access to water by a toddler, and of course unanticipated means, you weren't getting the floaties out or the life preserver or you weren't standing there, like, okay, we're going to go swimming,” Dr. Leiferman said.

Although some pools have barriers, that might not always help with obstructing the body of water. For added protection, there are door and pool alarms that will sound if a door opens.

“Even if you have a fence around your pool should have a fence around your pool with a self-closing, self-latching gate. But oftentimes what we see is the gate didn't close properly,” the doctor explained.

The pediatrician says reinforcement is key when watching your child around water.

“Reinforcing that I'm in charge of this life. There's a body of water at this home or wherever we are, and I can't let that kid out of my sight. And I mean it's so easy to get distracted,” said Dr. Leiferman.

“These tragic cases where a child loses his life to drowning. They are accidents. They are not bad parents. They just got distracted. And so I guess that message, always is, don't be complacent don't get comfortable with your kid around water,” he added.

[RELATED: 2-year-old boy dies after drowning in pool]

Arizona’s child drowning rate is often one of the highest in the nation. Children 4 years old and younger are in the highest risk group for drowning deaths. There are a few basic steps to reduce this risk, we call them the ABCs of Drowning Prevention.

“A” is for Adult supervision. If children are around water (any water, not just a backyard pool), they need constant, responsible, undistracted, adult supervision. Designate a “Water Watcher” whose only responsibility is to watch the children. If that person has to leave the area, someone else takes over or everyone leaves the pool area with them.

“B” is for Barriers. Every pool should be enclosed by a barrier fence at least 4-5 feet high. It should have a self-closing, self-latching gate that must be kept closed at all times. Door and pool alarms are also added security (and Please keep doggie doors in mind!).

“C” is for Classes. Learn how to perform CPR in the event that the unthinkable does happen. In addition, although we cannot “waterproof” our children, swim classes can also help.

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Cody Lee

Cody Lee joined 13 On Your Side and KYMA News 11 in March 2020, but he’s no stranger to Arizona. He grew up in the Phoenix area and enjoys everything Arizona has to offer.

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