By Juana Hernandez, SRP Safety Connection Representative
It can happen so quickly. One minute you’re enjoying the Arizona sunshine with friends and family by the pool and the next minute you’re pulling a child from the water and dialing 911.
Last year, according to the Children’s Safety Zone, there were 158 water-related incidents that resulted in 17 children and 29 adult fatal drownings in Maricopa and Pinal counties alone.
Overall, Arizona continues to be second in the nation when it comes to child drownings—and children ages 1 to 4 years of age are most at risk. Remember to be safe this summer by following the ABC’s of water safety – Adult supervision, Barriers to water and Classes for swimming and CPR.
Far too many water-related incidents involving children are reported even when there is a large group of adults nearby, which is why it’s important to keep an eye on children at all times. Assign a capable Water Watcher to keep eye-to-eye supervision on all children in and around water at all times. The Water Watcher should know how to swim and be familiar with his or her current location and address in case of an emergency.
Securing multiple barriers to water can help reduce incidents when supervision fails. If you own a pool, install a fence around the perimeter with a self-closing, self-latching door. Never leave a pool gate door propped open for any reason. Expect the unexpected by moving patio furniture inside of the pool fence so children do not use it to climb over the fence. Store toys that may attract kids to the pool when not in use, and place locks on windows, doors and pet doors.
Non-swimmers and children who are learning how to swim should wear properly fitted life jackets around water. Look for U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets that are appropriate to the wearer’s weight.
Learning to swim is a life skill and it’s never too late to learn. As a family, make a commitment to take swimming lessons and learn CPR. SRP has partnered with various Valley cities to offer free or reduced swimming lessons. SRP has also partnered with the Phoenix Fire Department and the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona on a video with lessons on how to administer CPR to adults and children.
Always remember the ABC’s of water safety. Stay safe and have a great summer!
You can access information on the free swimming lessons in your community, the CPR video and more water safety tips at www.srpnet.com/safety.