Drowning is preventable, yet twenty-two fatalities have occurred in Maricopa and Pinal Counties so far this year. Almost half of these individuals were children under the age of six. With more children cooped up at home this summer, national experts predict that drownings will increase. Nationwide, drowning is already the leading cause of death for children ages one through four and the second leading cause of death for children ages five through nine.
No one believes that a drowning will occur in their own backyard. Notably, most incidents occur when one or both parents are supervising. Nearly 70% of child drowning victims were not expected to be at or in the pool. Drownings are silent and rapid.
Pool owners have a duty to keep their pools and surrounding areas safe. The key duty is a barrier that prevents access to the pool, such as a fence. Supervision must also be provided when the pool is in use. However, pool owners can still be held liable even when these safeguards are in place if they or someone they employ was negligent in failing to supervise children around swimming pools.
What can you do to prevent drownings? The Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona (DPCA) recommends practicing the ABC’s of Water Safety:
- Adult Supervision: a sober adult watching swimmers and doing nothing else.
- Barrier: Arizona law requires pool owners to have safety measures in place when a child under the age of 6 lives in the home.
- Classes: Everyone should learn how to swim. Those unable should wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved lifejacket. The Valley of the Sun YMCA is offering 2000 FREE swim lessons!
Also, did you know that the Scottsdale Fire Department offers FREE home surveys to identify water hazards? Click here to arrange an appointment. Check out the DPCA’s YouTube channel for more helpful information.
Thank you to Lori Schmidt, Public Information Officer Scottsdale Fire Department and Melissa Sutton, Board President, Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona.