Jul 232014

During the month of July, Safe Kids Maricopa County is holding Zero In on Water Safety press conferences to bring awareness to and educate about the various components of keeping kids safe in and around water. Our most recent press conference was held at Maryvale Pool in Phoenix. We partnered up with SRP and the Phoenix Fire Department to show what drowning really looks like. Speakers at the press conference included Counsilman Daniel Valenzuela, Kelly Liebermann from Phoenix Fire Department, and Becky Heulett from City of Phoenix Aquatics. Most people would assume that when a child is drowning, they will be splashing in the water and yelling for help. In reality, drowning is so much different than that and it is of utmost importance to be able to identify drowning when it is happening.

A few lifeguards from Maryvale Pool excellently portrayed what drowning really looks like. There was very little flailing in the water, very little splashing, and no yelling. A child who is drowning is too focused on gasping for air to waste their breathe on screaming. Drowning can look like a head bobbing in and out of the water. The child will look like they are just trying to stay on the surface of the water to breathe and using thir arms to bring their body out of the water. In an instance where a child may be at the bottom of the pool, they may not even be visible. One of the lifegaurds sat at the bottom of the pool while two other lifeguards swam over him, showing that a child at the bottom of the pool is not visible to the naked eye. They practically disappear once they hit a certain depth. When other children are swimming over that child drowing in the water it is like one would not even know that while some kids are having fun, another is losing their life.

Drowning is a huge problem in Arizona. Educating yourself on how to spot a child drowning can and will make a difference and save lives.

*A video of the press conference is soon to come.

From the left: Becky Heulett, Councilman Daniel Valenzuela, Kelly Leibermann

From the left: Becky Heulett, Councilman Daniel Valenzuela, Kelly Liebermann


Mar 052014

 Safe Kids Maricopa is passionate about decreasing the drowning rates in Arizona. The Phoenix area has suffered two fatalities and a non-fatal drowning involving children under the age of 5.  This is distressing as each water-related incident for both adults and children are preventable, according to the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona. 

Unfortunately, the Journal of Pediatrics reports that more than 1000 children drown each year in the United States. And those that survive often suffer severe and long-term disabilities. 

This winter has been unusually warm doors are open and children want to be outside, in all three of these cases there was no pool fence or an improperly maintained fence.  Safe Kids Maricopa wants everyone to know that there are many layers to protecting our children in and around water one of which is…

 Block:  Block access to water.  Put an approved barrier around or over the pool and maintain it.  Use a safety cover on the spa.  Empty anything that holds water, like buckets, or move it so children do not have unattended access to it.  Shut the door to bathrooms. Ensure drain covers on pools and spas are in good condition.

The other layers of protection include…..

 Watch: When in or near water, children must be supervised.  This means that the caregiver’s eyes are on the child and not distracted by yard work, cooking or even just enjoying a magazine. Use life jackets in the pool or on open water – especially if the individual doesn’t know how to swim.  If a child is not expected to be around water but goes missing, check every water hazard before looking anywhere else.  Precious moments lost can mean the difference between life and death.

 Learn:  Adults and children must know how to swim. Water awareness classes can begin as early as 9 months old.  Classes will not drown-proof anyone, but it is another layer of protection.  Caregivers must also understand how to do CPR. Getting oxygen to the brain as quickly as possible has proven to improve survivability in drowning victims.


Tracey Fejt RN

Injury Prevention Coordinator

Banner Children’s

Feb 272014

March is right around the corner. Let’s talk brain injury awareness and prevention.


Did you know? March is Brain Injury Awareness Month.


Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) were the cause of death for 1,317 Arizona residents in 2011. For every TBI-related death in Arizona in 2011, there were:

5 Non-fatal inpatient hospitalizations and

36 Non-fatal emergency department visits,

Resulting in over $692.4 million in hospital charges. www.adhs.gov


We are so excited to partner with Brain Injury Alliance of AZ, HealthSouth Valley of the Sun, and ResCare HomeCare in this community awareness event for brain Injury! Come join us on March 30th at 2pm!   All are encouraged to come and participate.  We all will be joining hands for awareness. It’s that easy. Professionals, families, and survivors are all encouraged to participate.  The park is accessible with amenities for all. We are in a park, so there is a playground next to our event for the little supporters with 2 and 4 legs. We will have a guest speaker survivor; Jason Taylor prior to joining our circle of hands.  Attached are the details and an area map.  Off Central, you will turn right on Farrington and follow the drive to the Ramada area by the lake. We will also have signs to assist you to the correct destination.  Please don’t hesitate to call me with your questions.


Brain Injury Alliance of AZ will provide the purple t-shirts at the event for a small donation $10.  Or if you already have the purple t-shirt, please wear it.  Please call the Brain Injury Alliance of AZ for the purple shirt information 602 508-8024. We will all have our picture taken to show our solidarity and support for those affected by brain injury.  There will be giveaways, light snacks, water and resources for the community.

No reservations required.

Place March 30th on your calendars and come enjoy this special event and great AZ weather!


Please pass on, post and place on social media and send to all who can come and join us in support of Brain Injury Awareness Month!

Let’s do this together.


Thank you,




Sonja Smith, MSW

Outreach Program Manager

Injury Prevention

Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center

Trauma and Emergency Services

925 East McDowell Rd, 3rd floor

602 839 0646; direct line

Jan 292014

If you are interested in helping out burn victims, check out the Arizona Burn Foundations website. Support the Arizona Burn Foundation by participating in the AZ Tax Credit program! Please make your contribution today. To learn more and make your donation go towww.azburn.org Thank you!

Oct 282013

During the holiday season, Safe Kids Maricopa wants you to think about safety while you are cooking your holiday feasts, we want you to be safe and enjoy the holidays.




Cooking equipment fires are the leading cause of home structure fires and associated injuries.  More than half of reported home cooking fire injuries occur when victims try to fight the fire themselves. Safe Kids Maricopa County wants to remind parents to provide a safe cooking area, especially during the upcoming holidays!


  • Keep things that can catch fire away from the stove. Wear short sleeves or roll up sleeves when cooking.  Keep items like potholders, paper, plastic bags, boxes and curtains away from the stove.
  • Prevent scalds and burns. Keep pot handles away from the stove’s edge. Open microwved food slowly. Let food cool before eating.
  • Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove.  Never hold a child while you are cooking, consuming, or carrying hot food or a hot liquid.
  • Know what to do if you have a cooking fire.  When in doubt, get out of the house and call 9-1-1


For additional life and safety information for children go to www.safekidsmaricopaaz.org

Oct 032013

The death of a 1-year-old boy left in an unattended vehicle in Phoenix prompts us to reiterate the importance of monitoring children in the heat.

Safe Kids Maricopa County held a press conference with Scottsdale Fire and Phoenix Police to inform the public about the dangers of leaving children unattended in vehicles, even when temperatures drop.

“It doesn’t have to be 110 degrees out in order to have a heat issue inside of a vehicle,” said Scottsdale Battalion Chief Chris Schibi.

Even on an 80-degree day, the inside of a car can exceed 100 degrees. High vehicle temperatures are a greater risk to children because a child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s, according to the fact sheet.

“Many children don’t sweat like adults do. Their body doesn’t react to heat the same way, so they’re much more susceptible to heat,” said Capt. Andy McDonald of the Scottsdale Fire Department.

Phoenix resident Dawn Peabody dedicates her time to educating other families after the loss of her young daughter, Maya, in October 2008.

“The Arizona heat had taken our daughter’s life,” she said. “These types of tragedies can happen even to the best of parents,” she said.

“As a parent, I couldn’t just sit there,” she said. “I had to make sure no other parent went through the nightmare my husband and I did.”

Forty-one children perished this year nationwide due to heatstroke; two of the deaths occurred in Arizona.

The first death in Arizona this year occurred Aug. 28 after a 3-month-old baby was left in a car in Phoenix for more than an hour. Though we have only had two deaths, the near misses are in the hundreds. Please don’t take the risk. NEVER LEAVE YOUR CHILD ALONE! Not event for a second!

  (Zoraida is the Coordinator for Safe Kids Maricopa County) 


 Zoraida Ettrick
Injury Prevention Program Manager, Office of Community Empowerment
Maricopa County Department of Public Health
4041 N. Central Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85012
(602) 506-6860 | C: (602)526-0730 | F: (602) 506-6683
facebook.com/MCDPH | twitter.com/Maricopahealth | www.WeArePublicHealth.org
Sep 122013

Safe Kids Maricopa County wants you to be safe while operating or riding in a golf cart

Just a few months ago a 16 year old, San Tan Valley girl was killed after an overloaded golf cart tipped over.  Golf carts have made their way from the golf course and into many resorts, small towns and local neighborhoods. Golf carts may seem harmless but golf carts are not toys. Golf carts can be very hazardous for children when not operated properly.  A study conducted in 2008 found that most golf cart accidents involving children less than 16 years of age involve passengers being thrown from the golf cart due to high speeds and sharp turns. To protect your children when operating golf carts, be sure to follow these safety tips.

Safety tips

Golf carts should only be driven by licensed drivers or if an adult is present.

Driver should read all directions and safety rules posted on the golf cart before operating.

Obey all basic driving etiquette – never drive recklessly, never drive distracted, obey all vehicle traffic laws and rules of the road, stay on cart paths or designated roads and never try to go off-roading.

Golf carts should be equipped with seat belts for the driver and all passengers. The driver and all occupants should utilize available seat belts every time the cart is in use.

Only operate the golf cart with correct number of passengers.

Keep hands and feet inside the golf cart at all times. Do not allow anyone to ride standing in the vehicle or on the back platform of the vehicle. Do not put vehicle in motion until all passengers are safely seated inside vehicle.

A golf cart should be operated at the same speed as a well-paced walk but no faster than 15 mph.

Use correct hand signals. Always use hand signals to indicate your intent to turn due to the small size and limited visibility of the turn signals on a golf cart.

Avoid sharp turns at high speeds and drive straight up and down slopes to reduce the risk of passenger ejections or rollover. Avoid excessive speed, sudden starts, stops and fast turns.

When not operating the golf cart, be sure to remove key and store safely. Do not leave keys in golf cart while unattended and make sure the parking brake is set.


Safe Kids Maricopa County wants to educate parents and children to prevent this from happening again!! Be Safe!

Contributed by:

Ashley Barinka

City of Mesa Transportation