FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) — A Clovis woman is calling for change after tragedy struck a Kings River waterway.
Samantha Cruz-Pedro died at Valley Children’s Hospital after being on life support for nearly a week.
The 8-year-old was swept away by the waters at Reedley Beach Wednesday. Manjit Singh, a 29-year-old man, also drowned trying to save her.
“Putting a life jacket on your children in any body of water is just like putting a seatbelt on inside a vehicle,” Desiree Genera said Tuesday. She’s trying to make life jackets mandatory for certain ages.
In a Facebook post shared about 1,000 times Genera asks parents to take a picture of their children in life jackets to raise awareness and is also reaching out to lawmakers asking for change.
“I’m asking that anybody either under the age of 16 or 18 be mandatory life jackets, at least here in Reedley in the Kings River, because that’s our area and then if we get that implemented everyone else will piggy back off that,” she said.
Reedley Fire Department battalion chief Justin Watson said they respond to about 3 to 4 reports of potential or active drownings in the Reedley Beach area a year.
Monica Rua said in the summer, she takes her children to the water several times a week and many parents don’t use life vests or take other safety measures.
“They’re very distant from them. The kids are away in the deep, and the parents are way out here,” she said.
The city does recommend life vests on the waterways but Genera says she’d like to see parents ticketed if their children don’t wear them.
“I do think that the only way to get people’s attention, especially parents that are doing this is somebody needs to be held accountable. Parents need to be held accountable. That is neglect, period,” she said.
Genera said she’s still working out details but she and a group of other concerned citizens plan on presenting their proposal at an upcoming city council meeting.