ARIZONA, USA — Sadly, we’ve already seen seven drownings in the Valley this year and of those, two were children under the age of five.
With triple-digit temps upon us, kids out of school, and the stay-at-home order in place, now is the time families have to be extra vigilant in making sure their little ones stay safe around water.
The numbers are hard to hear. 36 people died in water-related incidents in Maricopa and Pinal Counties last year, according to Children Safety Zone. Five of those kids were five and under.
“That number is to keep going if we don’t have people practicing those same rules that we’ve been preaching,” said Lori Schmidt, with the Scottsdale Fire Department and the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona.
She says the drowning rates go up during the hot summer months, and that distractions are to blame for so many lives lost.
“We are more around the water than ever before, because we’re at home, so distractions and stress can be high during this time,” said Schmidt.
It’s important to remember, drownings are silent.
“So, you might not know that they’ve entered into the pool,” she said.
Keeping layers of protection in place is key.
“Self-closing, self-locking gates are super important, because then those gates shut and lock, so that if the kids try to get into the gate after you’ve already closed it, they can’t get in,” said Schmidt. “Sliding glass doors need a high lock...so that you have to unlock it before you can open the door.”
Schmidt also warned families not to forget to put some kind of lock on the doggie door, that’s an access point for kids as well.
She reminds everyone to keep the "ABC’s" in mind when they head out to cool off in the pool.
“A is going to be adult supervision; we’ve got to keep our eyes on the water and the kids,” she said. “B is for barriers... that keeps kids from the water when we don’t expect them to be swimming and the C is for classes, that is swimming lessons for both the caregiver and the kids.”
Schmidt also encourages everyone to learn CPR.
“That can make a huge difference in their survivability factor if there is a drowning scenario,” she added.
Simple things you can do to keep pool-time safe.