During the month of July, Safe Kids Maricopa County is holding Zero In on Water Safety press conferences to bring awareness to and educate about the various components of keeping kids safe in and around water. Our most recent press conference was held at Maryvale Pool in Phoenix. We partnered up with SRP and the Phoenix Fire Department to show what drowning really looks like. Speakers at the press conference included Counsilman Daniel Valenzuela, Kelly Liebermann from Phoenix Fire Department, and Becky Heulett from City of Phoenix Aquatics. Most people would assume that when a child is drowning, they will be splashing in the water and yelling for help. In reality, drowning is so much different than that and it is of utmost importance to be able to identify drowning when it is happening.
A few lifeguards from Maryvale Pool excellently portrayed what drowning really looks like. There was very little flailing in the water, very little splashing, and no yelling. A child who is drowning is too focused on gasping for air to waste their breathe on screaming. Drowning can look like a head bobbing in and out of the water. The child will look like they are just trying to stay on the surface of the water to breathe and using thir arms to bring their body out of the water. In an instance where a child may be at the bottom of the pool, they may not even be visible. One of the lifegaurds sat at the bottom of the pool while two other lifeguards swam over him, showing that a child at the bottom of the pool is not visible to the naked eye. They practically disappear once they hit a certain depth. When other children are swimming over that child drowing in the water it is like one would not even know that while some kids are having fun, another is losing their life.
Drowning is a huge problem in Arizona. Educating yourself on how to spot a child drowning can and will make a difference and save lives.
*A video of the press conference is soon to come.
From the left: Becky Heulett, Councilman Daniel Valenzuela, Kelly Liebermann