County health officials warn of spike in child drownings

4 drownings in 2017, 4 drownings in 2018 so far.

RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif.- - In 2017, there were four child drownings in Riverside County. In 2018, there have already been four child drownings in the county, a staggering frequency rate increase of over 400 percent.

The alarming numbers have prompted county health officials to press forward and make sure the public is fully informed on this concerning issue. 

“Drowning is 100 percent preventable,” Kim Saruwatari, director for Riverside University Health System said at a recent Riverside County Supervisors meeting. "We need to be more vigilant whenever children are near water." 

Saruwatari's words speak to the reality of the county's four tragedies this year; in all four incidents, the child drowned while adults were present. The Riverside University Health System recently released a video to inform of the proper precautions to keep children safe around water.


 In the Coachella Valley, two children drowned on two consecutive days. Diego Torres, who was a year old, died at a hospital after he was found in a backyard Indio pool on Jan. 14. The following day, an unidentified child died after falling into a Palm Desert home pool.

Local swimming resources include Infant Swimming Resource in Cathedral City, Rene's Aquatics in Desert Hot Springs, and Make A Splash for Joel Foundation. 

To learn more about water safety, visit the county's resource page at 

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