So far this year, six children, one teenager and nine adults – 16 people in all – have been reported to have drowned in the Phoenix area, according to AZFamily.com.
Moms, dads, folks of all ages: Just knowing some simple safety steps in and around the water can help prevent your child, your parent, or your loved one from drowning.
Here are some recent tragedies that have been reported in Phoenix along with ways that you can prevent these scenarios from happening to you:
What happened: A 2-year-old reportedly escaped the supervision of his parents and grandparents in their home through the doggy door. They looked for him for about 30 minutes before finding him in the backyard pool. The pool had very little water in it and the water was green. (Source: MyFoxPhoenix.com)
Prevention: Install a 4-foot tall fence with self-closing, self-latching gates around the entire perimeter of the pool. Urge neighbors with pools to do the same. Install door alarms on any door that leads to a backyard pool to alert you if your child leaves the house. If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool FIRST. Finally, install pool and gate alarms to alert you when children go near or enter the water.
What happened: A mother was reported to be supervising her 5-year-old son at the pool. He was horse playing and “possibly pretended to drown,” according to AZFamily.com. The mother jumped into the pool to help her son, but struggled herself because she couldn’t swim. The mother is in critical condition at the hospital. (Source: ABC15)
Prevention: If you don’t know how to swim, now is the time to learn. Swimming courses are available in local communities through a variety of public and nonprofit groups. Keep lifesaving equipment handy, including a telephone and tools that can be thrown into the pool. Some examples of these tools are a life ring or a reaching pole. Be sure to wear a Coast Guard approved life vest if you don’t know how to swim and are going into the water.
What happened: A 3-year-old Mesa, Ariz., girl was reportedly swimming in the family pool with her six brothers and sisters, the oldest of whom was 14. The pool had a gate and appropriate safety precautions. When the six other children got out of the pool, the 3-year-old was found. She had drowned. She had been missing for 20 minutes. (Source: AZCentral.com)
Prevention: Adults rather than older siblings should supervise children in the pool at all times. One adult should serve as a “Water Watcher” whenever children are in the pool. Stay within arm’s reach of non-swimmers and step in to stop excessive horseplay. Regular headcounts can help you keep track of all the children who are in the water.
What happened: A 7-year-old girl was staying with her grandparents, who had an above-ground pool in their back yard. The girl reportedly moved a ladder to the pool, climbed it and drowned in the pool. Police say she was in the water for 20 minutes. (Source: AZCentral.com)
Prevention: Ladders for above ground pools should be stored out of reach of children. Above ground pools are just as attractive to children as in ground pools. Fencing in an above ground pool will help keep young children out.
Related: CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum in the Arizona Republic: Act to keep kids safe around water