Posted: Aug 2, 2012 6:00 PM
TUCSON - Arizona ranks second in the nation for child drownings. In several years, more kids died in water related accidents than motor vehicle crashes.
This summer we already lost an infant in Pima County to a bathtub drowning.
Eight other kids in this county have nearly drowned.
August is Drowning Impact Awareness Month (DIAM) and the Kristi's Kids News 4 Tucson Lifesavers crew was there for the kick off at the Y.M.C.A. Kino Pool this week.
Ethan Bennett, our face for this year's Lifesaver campaign, was at the kickoff with his mom. She wants you to know how Ethan's water accident impacts his life.
"And here we are three years later," says Rose Bennett holding back tears. "And although Ethan has made huge strides, he is currently wheel chair bound; he does not speak nor eat by mouth. And his motor function is seriously impaired."
DIAM is the largest collaborative water safety effort in Arizona. It was started in 2004 by Phoenix Children's Hospital. Click here for more information from the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona.
August was established as Drowning Impact Awareness Month because statewide there's often a spike in water-related accidents this time of year. People let their guard down while parents become distracted with back to school affairs.
Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild urges vigilance.
"We know the drowning can begin in the time it takes to answer a telephone. And we know that brain damage can occur in the time it takes to answer a front door."
This is a critical reminder of those A.B.C.'s of swim safety.
A = Adult supervision.
"The result of so many of our situations is that somebody wasn't watching or paying attention," says Tracy Koslowski with Safe Kids Tucson.
B = Barricades.
"You need to have something between that child and the water," says Lori Schmidt, President of the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona.
C = Classes.
"Community pools are so important to families who have a place to take their children during the summer, children who use those as a place to learn how to swim," says Mayor Rothschild.
C.P.R. classes are critical for adults and older siblings.
The surest way to keep your swimmers safe is to practice the A.B.C.'s and remember the impact.
"Ethan is considered lucky. Admittedly he so very lucky to be alive," his mom says. "But how lucky is he really. His life, his future and all his possibilities of life have been robbed from him."
There are 5 weeks left of our Lifesaver campaign and we're still giving away swim, C.P.R. lessons, pool fences and tickets to Legoland.
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