Summer is not over yet and neither is the risk of child drowning

If you have kids, you know that change is a constant presence in our life. One minute you're looking at the ultrasound picture, and the next they're asking you for a cell phone.

Try as I might, I don't always approach the changes in our life with a sunny outlook. And I don't honestly feel any more prepared for the cell phone questions than I did the diaper questions. I do the best that I can, and remind myself that tomorrow is always a fresh start and a chance to be a better mom.

Sometimes the challenge comes from needing to know so much, about so many things. And sometimes the challenge comes from the chaos that every family with children experiences. How can we make sure they really flossed their teeth, while also checking their homework and filling out the school picture form at the same time?

This month is especially hectic, with our new back-to-school life. Athletic releases and reading lists are magically appearing from all corners of my house, and everyone is tired and cranky now that sleeping in is just for the weekends.

And it's hot. Really hot. I check and recheck the online radar, in desperate hope that a monsoon will sweep rain and cool air into my backyard. The only place I want to be is in air-conditioning or a pool.

Your kids feel the same way.

Put together the slightly-distracted parent, sleepy siblings and muggy days, and you can see why August and the beginning of September is traditionally bad for child drownings. Last year, five children drowned in August alone in the Valley.

That's why Phoenix Children's Hospital offers purple ribbons, safety tips and free lunch presentations. Visit www.phoenixchildrens.com or www.preventdrownings.org and click on the "calendar" tab.

It's been a long, hot summer, but the high temperatures are not over yet, and neither is the risk of child drowning. Especially as we head into Labor Day weekend, know who is in charge of watching children near the pool.

Make sure that person is sober, able to swim and give CPR, and given a regular break. Check and recheck to make sure children can't go over, under, or through a pool fence, and teach them how to swim when they are old enough. Keep up your CPR and ask the same of anyone who cares for your child.

Change is a constant. But you can keep up on this.

And just as you get a handle on the cell phone questions, along will come the question all parents dread: "Dad, can I have the car keys?"

• Tiffaney Isaacson is the water safety coordinator for Water Watchers at Phoenix Children's Hospital. Reach her at (602) 546-1712.

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