A 2-year-old boy drowned Saturday night in a backyard swimming pool, marking the second such tragic loss in the last week in Yuma.
According to Yuma Fire Department spokesperson Mike Erfert, at approximately 11:55 p.m. firefighters were dispatched to a home in south-central Yuma for a report of a drowning that had just occurred.
Erfert said it was not known how long the child had been in the pool prior to being found.
“He was thought to have been in bed, but was believed to have gotten out of the house by way of a doggie door leading to the yard,” Erfert said.
When firefighters arrived on scene, they found a Yuma police officer administering CPR to the child, who was unresponsive.
Firefighters continued resuscitation efforts while the child was transported to Yuma Regional Medical Center, where he was later pronounced deceased.
“There are no words to express the sorrow these families are enduring. We all grieve together as a community when tragedies like these occur,” Erfert said.
Last weekend, a 3-year-old drowned after being found unresponsive in a swimming pool at a home on Yuma’s west side. That child is also believed to have left the house through a doggie door.
“These aren’t the only incidents involving doggie doors. There have been others in the past,” Erfert said. “All a parent can do is their best. The consequences of failure are just too great.”
As such, Erfert added that because small children tend to be curious it is important that parents be aware of the danger that doggie doors pose.
Arizona’s child drowning rate is often one of the highest in the nation with children 4 years old and younger being in the highest risk group for drowning deaths.
In a press release, the Yuma Fire Department included steps to reduce the risk, known as the ABCs of Drowning Prevention.
• “A” is for Adult supervision. If children are around water (any water, not just a backyard pool), they need constant, responsible, undistracted, adult supervision. Designate a “Water Watcher” whose only responsibility is to watch the children. If that person has to leave the area, someone else takes over or everyone leaves the pool area with them.
• “B” is for Barriers. Every pool should be enclosed by a barrier fence at least 4-5 feet high. It should have a self-closing, self-latching gate that must be kept closed at all times. Door and pool alarms are also added security (and Please keep doggie doors in mind!).
• “C” is for Classes. Learn how to perform CPR in the event that the unthinkable does happen. In addition, although we cannot “waterproof” our children, swim classes can also help.