PHOENIX (KSAZ) - In Arizona, child drowning rates are 25% higher than the rest of the nation, and it has been that way for quite some time. Water safety programs are crucial for our area to try and reduce those numbers, especially around a high-risk holiday like Labor Day.
"During Labor Day weekend we're spending a lot more time by the pool together as a family, and also part of the fun of the holiday weekend is a change of routine, you know maybe we don't clean up the dishes right after dinner, we relax a little bit more," said Tiffaney Isaacson, with Phoenix Children's Hospital.
For the first time, Phoenix Children's Hospital is attending Free First Friday at the Children's Museum of Phoenix to give life-saving tips to parents ahead of the holiday weekend.
"I can tell you a few years ago we had a very rough Labor Day we had a number of kids who went into the pool on a weekend, I think we had three fatal drownings in just one weekend," said Isaacson.
Isaacson is passing out water safety kits with things like the Watcher Tags.
"What we do is we take this tag at the beginning of the night and we find out who can swim, choose adults, ask them to keep the drinking to a moderate level, so we have a nice sober adult ready to watch the kids," she said.
Isaacson says nothing replaces adult supervision, but a sturdy life vest is usually the best bet.
"These are a lot of fun, but these are toys, so when a child is wearing floaties they need the same amount of supervision as if their not wearing floaties," said Isaacson.
Andreanna Rivera is the mother of 4 children under the age of five; she's soaking up some much-needed tips ahead of the big weekend.
"I love it, because I love to learn different techniques for what I can do with my own kids, especially with the amount of family that I have of my own, I always like to figure out new things I can do for myself," said Adreanna Rivera.
Isaacson says lower income families are more vulnerable to drownings because of a limited budget. Spending money to repair a pool fence or on swimming lessons isn't a priority. She says distributing kits at a free of charge event allows families to enjoy the Museum and learn about the steps they can take to protect their family.