PHOENIX - It's been a deadly 24 hours when it comes to drownings. On Friday morning, a 16-month-old girl died after being pulled from a swimming pool in Peoria. And on Thursday night, a 2-year-old girl died after she fell into a pool in Mesa.
Arizona's child and teen drowning rate is about 30 percent higher than the national average. The Phoenix Fire Department tells FOX 10 there have been 140 drowning calls for service in the Valley so far this year.
"It's terrifying because you can be the best parent and in the blink of an eye, something like this can happen. Prepare, lock your doors, teach your children water safety, get them enrolled in swim classes, have pool fences. All of those things are the best things to prepare yourself for something you cant prepare for," said Amanda Gaines of the Peoria Police Department.
So far this year, there have been 13 child deaths from drowning in Maricopa and Pinal Counties. Several of these cases happened in the last month, which happens to be Drowning Impact Awareness Month. In 2016, there were 16 child deaths due to drowning incidents.
"In the age range of 1 to 4-years-old, Arizona is double the national average in terms of drownings in that age range," said Jonathon Gonzales of the Center for Family Health and Safety at Phoenix Children's Hospital. "This is one of the most busiest months right before Labor Day we're at the height and peak of drowning that occurs in the Valley."
These incidents are tragic for everyone involved, including the responding crews. Gaines says the department has a critical debrief after these types of calls.
"Anyone who's there and could be affected, we all come together, we talk about it and this is the second one in less than a month for our department and some of those same officers have had to work and this one may not have bothered them, but the next one may, so we do out best to talk about it so that we don't become victims of the things we investigate and become sad, depressed, things like that."
In regards to the drowning in Peoria, police tell us no one has been arrested and the family is fully cooperating, but it's still an open investigation.