When emergency crews responded to a drowning call of a 3-year-old Gold Canyon boy who was discovered floating inside a family swimming pool last week, his father told authorities that the child had been out of his sight for about two minutes.
Two minutes is too long.
Although the father pulled his son out of the pool and performed CPR on him, the boy died in a local hospital days later. The family had a safety fence around the pool, but its gate was unlocked, according to the Apache Junction Fire Department.
The boy’s tragic death is just one of many child drownings that have occurred in the East Valley over the years as temperatures heat up and people begin using their swimming pools more often. To help raise awareness, Fulton Homes, the American Red Cross, and KTAR (98.7-FM) are hosting a water safety event 2 p.m. Sunday at Mesa’s Fiesta Mall as part of Fulton Homes Two Seconds is Too Long campaign.
The event will be held between Macy’s and the center court inside the mall at Dobson Road and Southern Avenue.
The event not only is to raise awareness, but for people looking for information and education such as learning life-saving techniques, said Tom Herrmann, spokesman for Fulton Homes, a company that has been involved in water safety for about 12 years.
“The emphasis has always been that two seconds is too long when it comes to taking your eyes off children around water or the swimming pool,” Herrmann said. “It serves as a reminder to not take your eyes off kids around the pool and not to sit around inside watching the game when kids are outside in the pool.”
The campaign will last until the end of August and be held in various locations throughout the Valley to provide information and education.
Fulton Homes also will have its “Fence Patrol” on hand, which provides a free pool safety fence to families in need who may not be able to afford them. Of the five pool safety fences given away so far during this year’s campaign, two were put in place for Chandler families.
More than half of water-related drownings and near-drownings happen during group events or pool parties, according to Ed Swift, founder of the Children’s Safety Zone, a Phoenix-based nonprofit that provides water safety tips and tracks water-related incidents throughout the state.
“Sometimes, people just don’t remember to keep an eye on their kids,” Swift said. “Everyone assumes that everyone else is watching the children. It just takes a couple of seconds to turn around and you have a problem. Always have at least one person who is responsible for watching the kids.”
In the last two years, there has been a noticeable increase in water-related incidents and drownings, according to Children’s Safety Zone.
And, of the 64 water-related incidents in Arizona since Jan. 1 of this year, 18 have been drownings including seven in the East Valley. Of those East Valley drownings, four were children, according to Swift.
Last year, there were 58 water-related incidents overall and seven fatalities involving children throughout the state, according to the statistics.
“There are few things more important in Arizona than making sure everyone, and especially children, stays safe around water,” said Douglas Fulton, CEO of Fulton Homes. “The recent tragedies involving children should be a harsh reminder to everyone who loves children to be even more vigilant.”
For more information on the Two Seconds is Too Long, visit www.Fulton2seconds.com online.
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