Child Crisis Arizona offers low-income Maricopa County families free pool barriers

Pool barriers help mitigate child drowning deaths.
Pool barriers help mitigate child drowning deaths.(Arizona's Family)
Published: Apr. 20, 2023 at 12:30 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Spring is underway and the summer heat will be here soon, which means many homes in the Valley will fill up their backyard pools to cool off. However, this also means if you have children in the home, an open pool increases the risk of them drowning. One way to reduce that risk is to have proper barriers that prevent your little one from getting into the pool in the first place.

The children and youth non-profit Child Crisis Arizona, Salt River Project and United Phoenix Firefighters Charities are teaming up for their Pool Fence Safety Program, which will provide families in need with free pool fences.

In a press release, Child Crisis Arizona’s director of special projects and family resources, Caitlin Sageng says, “The Pool Fence Safety Program is a wonderful opportunity to create awareness and keep children safe around water. The program provides funding for families that are financially unable to afford pool barriers and have young children.”

Of the 44 drowning deaths in 2021, 68% (about 30) of them were children ages 1-4, according to a 2022 report from the Arizona Department of Health Services. This also makes drowning the leading cause of death for that age group in Arizona. For children ages 0-17, a lack of supervision was the leading factor, with 86% of the drowning deaths. Inadequate or no pool barrier was a factor in 55% of the drownings.

“As the largest provider of water in the Valley for the past century, water safety is paramount at SRP,” Community Engagement Strategist for SRP Rori Minor said. “Research shows that secure pool fencing can prevent about 75 percent of water-related drownings of unsupervised children. SRP is committed to improving the quality of life for the people we serve. Through our various drowning-prevention outreach programs and contributions, we hope to help provide parents with the education and resources they need to keep their children safe around water.”

SRP is putting up $25,000, while the United Phoenix Firefighters Charities will raise $10,000 for a total of $35,000 available for the program. The money is only open to families living in Maricopa County and the application process is currently open, with a closing date of May 26.

You can apply at the Child Crisis Arizona website. The requirements are as follows:

  • Must have a child six years old or younger living in the home
  • The home must be owner-occupied, no renters
  • The family must reside within Maricopa County
  • The family must be income-qualified. Participation in one of the following assistance programs will be used to verify income eligibility: Food stamps, Medicaid, WIC, Energy Assistance, or Unemployment.
  • If the family is not enrolled in one of the assistance programs, household income will be considered and your 2022 tax return will be used to verify income eligibility.