Drowning Dangers for Children: Pools Not the Biggest One in Mesa County

By: Jessica Zartler Email
By: Jessica Zartler Email

Drowning is the number one cause of death in children ages five and under but experts say parents should be worried about a lot more than large pools.

The Grand Junction Fire Department says it responds to more calls for drowning and near drownings in the summer but you may be surprised where they usually find children in danger.

Susan Peters says she's always been nervous bringing her daughter, Zoey, around water.

"Never take our eyes off of her and we're always within arms reach," Peters told 11 News at the Lincoln-Moyer Pool on Sunday.

But although she's on high alert at the pool, she says she hasn't thought much about other areas that might have water.

"I feel like I'm pretty aware but there are probably places I'm not thinking of right now that I'm sure people could point out to me."

Places like smaller inflatable pools, irrigation ditches and buckets or troughs--places where Grand Junction Fire Department Battalion Chief Duncan Brown says most near drownings happen.

"Sometimes an infant or toddler can drown in just inches of water. They don't have the capability of getting themselves up and out of that water," Chief Brown told 11 News on Sunday.

He says the hardest part for firefighters and parents of drowning victims is knowing it didn't have to happen.

"It's very bothersome when a firefighter does go on a drowning that could have easily been prevented."

Chief Brown says the lack of fencing and a dulled awareness near smaller pools of water is what makes them more dangerous.

He has a word of advice for parents.

"Know where your kids are and know what they're doing," said Brown.

Something Susan Peters will continue doing.

"I'm one of those moms that i don't let her go too far out of sight," said Peters.

And not just at the pool.

"It only takes a second or two for a tragedy to happen, so you really just have to be aware."

Because she's not willing to risk those few seconds and risk her daughter, Zoey.

A few tips for safety: Firefighters say supervision is the most important thing around water, they also recommend fencing and locking off areas around pools and ditches and they say taking a CPR class could prepare you for the worst.

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