Doctors caution safety as canals set to fill

(File Photo)

Irrigation canals throughout the Treasure Valley will be full and flowing as soon as next week.

While some homeowners are excited for the water, doctors are concerned.

Irrigation canals are all over the Treasure Valley and many have no fencing to keep children away, which is why doctors are warning parents to keep their kids clear of the canals.

While some water ways may be a good place to walk your dog or see ducks, they are no place for children to play.

"Drownings are the number 1 cause of injury related death for children ages 1 through 4. Number 2 cause of death for children 5 to 9," said Marisa Lunghofer, director of pediatric trauma at St. Luke's Children's Hospital in Boise.

All too often Lunghofer says children are brought to her hospital after ending up in a canal with no way out.

Right now the canals are virtually empty but once they fill up with water and start moving it could make it very difficult for any small child to get out.

However Lunghofer adds canal safety can't just be about small children; it needs to be about everyone.

"If the old kids are allowed to do it then the younger children will want to do it so I think it's important that families set the same rules."

The suggested rules are even if you can swim and even if you're not alone; don't ever go in the canal.

And parents, keep this in mind: it's a long and dangerous route of canals and lateral waterways winding some 500 miles through the treasure valley.