Child drownings: The preventable death

Over the holiday weekend, and with the onset of soaring temperatures, the Arizona Republic ran a lengthy Page One article titled One Fatal Moment, detailing the 21 Valley children who died as a result of drowning this past year.

Just beneath the headline were these words: A distracted parent. A determined child. An inviting pool. It takes just one minute, and Valley families are left with a lifetime of grief.

It’s difficult not to be struck by the fact that these children were victims of more than a “distracted” parent. The photos of cherubic young faces accompanied a list of the activities engaged in by the “supervisors” (the newspaper’s word, not ours) of these mostly infants and toddlers who needlessly perished. Some were in backyards, others at community pools or even in their home bathtubs.  Many of the adults were talking on the phone, texting or sleeping.  They certainly were not watching their children or those in their charge. Were the doors locked or pools fenced? If not, why not?

The truth is, these are preventable deaths, caused by inattention. They are child neglect in the extreme. The adults are torn by grief and guilt, as they should be.  But the children’s lives are irretrievably snuffed out.

If a child killer marauded through Valley neighborhoods randomly killing dozens of young children each and every year, there would be an outraged cry to find and bring such offenders to justice. When they are parents or babysitters, people merely shake their heads, cluck over how sad it is, and then inevitably say “they’ve suffered enough.” 

If these “supervisors” were charged with child endangerment, they might get the message — one that would resonate with others who still think it’s safe to leave babies unattended in bathtubs or young children by themselves in the yard while “supervisors” go in the house to answer the phone.

How many more children must die?


9 Responses to Child drownings: The preventable death

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Gladly laying politics aside, this is probably the most important post I’ve read in quite a while.

    Every single one of these deaths was absolutely avoidable. Every single one of these parents or those entrusted with the precious lives of little ones let their own selfish “needs” such as talking or texting, interfere with their primary responsibility — that of providing care for a dependent child. I wish the police would file these cases as criminal acts of child endangerment or neglect. And I wish the prosecutor’s offices would try these deaths as crimes. The feelings of guilt that follow these parents and sitters are well deserved. But their lives go on. The children are forever gone.

  2. Doug Johnson says:

    Conservatives give lip service to being pro-life, but I have never heard anyone ever talk about charging these preventable deaths as crimes. One place where pro-life voices really need to be raised loudly is in these situations, where living, walking and talking children with their own personalities, are regarded so callously. I could care less about the grief of the “supervisor.” (what a disgusting term!!). They SHOULD be guilt ridden. They caused a needless death of an innocent. Inattentiveness is not an option when young ones are involved, especially around water.

    • Another LD11 PC says:

      Yes, and people who don’t vaccinate their children need to be charged! And people who feed their kids fast food need to be charged! People who’s kids get injured when competing in motorcross or diving need to be charged!

      Do you not see the liberal path you are going down?

      “It’s for the kids.”

      When and where does it stop?

      What about the US clusterbombing a hospital or school advertently or inadvertently? Do you suggest charges for those people who did it?

      Oh that’s right, kids from other countries aren’t as important as American kids.

      For Pete’s sake.

      • MacBeth says:

        For Pete’s sake, yourself! We’re talking about adult self-centered preoccupation and negligence resulting in needless death of babies and toddlers. The topic has nothing to do with views on vaccinations, war, sports or fast food. You hurl the terms “liberal” and “Hillary” around like so much buckshot, since that is your only refuge, and a tiresome one at that. You argue like a fifth-grade girl. If you are so unhappy reading this site, why return? All you do is expose yourself as very limited in scope, although you probably think you sound wise. Please allow me to disabuse you of that notion.

  3. Another LD11 PC says:

    Here we go again with SeeingRedAZ using the Hillary “it’s for the children” liberal argument.

    No one wants their kids to die. If the kids die it’s punishment enough and God will hold them accountable.

    There are so many other issues we conservatives need to address, leave the “it’s for the children” ones to the libs where they belong.

    • American Dad says:

      Are you nuts? You must be if you are ready to cede concern for children over to liberals. In case you hadn’t noticed, conservatives love and care about their children. This is not a “Hillary” issue. Every time someone mentions children on these pages, you drag out Hillary.

      Dead babies and toddlers are the responsibility of those entrusted with their care, regardless of their party affiliation. Sorry chap, but your inhumane attitude disgusts me. Is your premise that if your mother had allowed you to drown, it would have been OK because she was a Repubican and we have more important things to think about then our children?

  4. Seen It All says:

    Between 1979 and 1981, 31 children ages 7 to 16 began disappearing in Atlanta. A 23-year-old man named Wayne Williams was eventually tried and found guilty of the heinous crimes. But not a stone was left unturned as the killer was sought. People would not stand for inaction in light of the deaths, nor should they now. The difference is he wasn’t a parent, but a rampaging murderer. There should be no difference. Children are still dead. The post makes an excellent point.

  5. neo48 says:

    One of those children featured belongs to a friend of mine. Her little boy drowned because her older boy was able to unlatch their gate. Both parents were home at the time of the tragedy. My friend (the mom) was a NICU nurse at St. Joes and jumped in (6 months pregnant at the time) to try and save him. I remember thinking that of all people this could happen to, it had to happen to my friend who was well aware of the dangers of pools. Sadly, a 3 year old who wants to do something badly enough, will find a way to do it. Unfortunately, the result was his little brother losing his life.

    The horror and guilt haunts my friend every single day.

    • Rambling Rose says:

      It’s a certainly each family experiencing the drowning death of a child experiences deep regret, incalculable sadness and guilt. Each family — young siblings grow up with the effects of the misery, also — knows there was something that could have prevented the needless death. In the case of your friend, a simple lock on the gate would have kept the older boy from unlatching the gate.

      I know a family whose child was a ‘near-drowning’ victim. Their son has been brain damaged since the age of 2. He is now 24 years old and is unable to speak, interact on any level or feed or care for himself. The entire family has been horribly impacted by this preventable tragedy. Ultimately, the event took its toll on the marriage, which is not uncommon. In this case, the boy’s mother went in the house to answer the telephone. These are heartbreaking, but nonetheless, preventable losses.