Trinity Mount Ministries

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

More time at home for kids heightens concern for water safety


(Pixabay Photo)
PHOENIX – Like most summer programs and activities for kids throughout Arizona, a camp that offers free swim lessons and water safety education in Phoenix had to be canceled this year.

And that’s a big concern for Karen Cohn.
She and her husband lost their son Zachary Archer Cohn in a pool drain entrapment in their backyard swimming pool in 2007. A year later, they founded the ZAC Foundation in his honor.

The Connecticut-based nonprofit educates kids and their families about the importance of water safety.

But this will be the first time in a decade that the group will not be able to hold its four-day ZAC Camp nationwide, including Phoenix, where about 100 kids ages 5-9 participate every summer.

Cohn said water safety is even more urgent now with the coronavirus pandemic.
She said not only are water safety summer camps and programs like the ZAC camps canceled, parents are more distracted as they try to juggle working from home and trying to supervise their kids.

One way she said parents are trying to keep their kids entertained is by “running out and buying kiddie pools and inflatable pools without being aware of the danger that they could pose to young children.”
Drowning is a leading cause of death for young children ages 1 to 14, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“A young child can drown in less than 2 inches of water,” Cohn said.
“So even if you have a bucket that has water left in it, young children can fall in and not be able to get themselves back up right.”
The latest data from Children’s Safety Zone shows 10 children under 5 have drowned in Maricopa and Pinal counties so far this year.

Cohn said now more than ever she feels it’s urgent to educate parents about water safety, starting with never leaving a child alone anywhere near water, even if a lifeguard is present.

She also recommends adding layers of protection to keep kids from reaching above-ground pools. That includes ensuring that pools are fenced and have self-latching gates or alarms.
For smaller and inflatable pools, Cohn recommends emptying the water and turning them upside down when they’re not being used.
“It’s really important to also not leave toys in these pools, because children are attracted to those toys,” she said.
She also warned parents about flotation devices, like inflatable floaties and tubes. She said they can give children a false sense of security that they can swim.
“Talk to them about that,” she said. “Also give them the opportunity to get in the water without these flotation devices, so they can understand what it feels like when they’re in the water and they can’t swim.”
And be aware of pool drains. She said if a drain is not working properly, everyone in the pool should get out immediately.
“No one should be swimming in it until it’s repaired,” she said. “Not only can children become entrapped, adults can as well. It’s hundreds of pounds of pressure that can only be released when the pool pumps are shut down.”
More water safety tips can be found on the ZAC Foundation’s website.