Pools in the backyard and the inviting Lake Pleasant seem like a safe haven from dastardly temperatures in the West Valley.
As thousands head to the water, officials emphasize safety is crucial.
On July 1, 2019, a 3-year-old girl died from drowning injuries in a Peoria home.
“I think supervision is the key all the time—you should watch your kids around water all the time, whether it’s summer, winter, fall, spring,” said Mario Bravo, a Peoria Fire Department spokesman. “Whether it’s a weekend, whether it’s a workday.”
In May of this year, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission released a report detailing reported drownings and estimated nonfatal drowning injuries across the nation. The data in the report showed that on average, 379 children under the age of 15 died because of pool or spa submersions annually from 2015 through 2017.
In addition, for 2017 through 2019, an estimated annual average of 6,700 children younger than 15 were treated in hospitals for nonfatal pool and spa drowning injuries.
Bravo described pool safety tips that parents and caregivers should consider with a depiction of a bullseye.
“The outside rings would be all of the pool safety stuff before a drowning ever occurs,” Bravo said.
These include locking doors and windows, having a lockable pool fence and swimming lessons for children.
“Then it narrows all the way down to the little bullseye, and the No. 1 thing is direct supervision,” Bravo added.
Even though locked windows and pool fences are essential when children are in the vicinity of a pool, nothing tops the importance of parents and caregivers continuously watching their children.
There have also been drowning incidents in the past at Lake Pleasant.
In March 2019, a 16-year-old boy drowned in Lake Pleasant.
In addition to children being vulnerable to drowning, adults can lose their lives in water. In November 2019, a 55-year-old man was unresponsive after surfacing from a 60-foot dive and was pronounced dead when first responders arrived at the scene.
“People wander away from the shore; people tip over in kayaks and boards and boats,” Bravo explained.
“Some people get into a cove and they think they can jump into the water without a life vest or any kind of life preserver. Any time they get into the water they should have a life preserver especially if they’re not a good swimmer.”
Peoria’s aquatic center was scheduled to resume swim lessons June 22.
Bravo emphasized the most important thing when it comes to children’s pool safety.
“You have to delegate and you have to direct and you have to say to a person, ‘Hey, you’re watching the kids right now. No phone; no leaving,’” he said.