Phoenix/ Community & Society
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Published on April 24, 2024
Valley's Recent Drownings Drive Home Urgent Need for Water Safety Vigilance in PhoenixSource: Unsplash/Megan Bucknall

As temperatures rise, pools and beaches are becoming the go-to spots for families looking to beat the heat, but with the increased water activity comes a heightened risk of drowning, particularly for young children. ABC15 reported two separate incidents in one day in the Valley, one resulting in the fatal drowning of a child, underscoring the critical need for water safety awareness. Drowning ranks as the third leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths, a sobering statistic provided by the Salt River Project via the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Already this year, the Phoenix metro area has witnessed nine near-drowning incidents and four tragic fatal incidents involving children, as per media reports. These numbers, while distressing, serve as a stark reminder for parents and guardians to stay vigilant. In light of these events, ABC15 offered a comprehensive checklist to prevent water emergencies, advising families to implement precautionary measures such as uninterrupted adult supervision, learning CPR, and teaching swim safety to children.

Moreover, "the layers of protection" recommend a self-latching gate, eye-to-eye supervision, CPR training, and educating kids on water safety, shared Ashley Ackerman, who lost her 4-year-old son to drowning, in a statement to ABC15. These layers are a reminder that while not infallible, they significantly enhance safety for everyone around water bodies.

Additionally, KAIT 8 reported on the beneficial aspects of early swim lessons and the importance of constant vigilance. "They’re learning how to control their crying, not letting the water get into their mouth, what to do when the water gets into their mouth," said Terri Mommsen, owner of The School of Yaya’s Fishes. Highlighting the risk of distraction, especially from cell phones, Mommsen advises designating a dedicated watcher for children at play in water. Parents are also urged to dress their kids in brightly colored swimwear, making it easier to keep visual contact.

For Heather Talley, swim classes for her 11-month-old at The School of Yaya’s Fishes have significantly eased her anxiety about her daughter's safety when around water. "She’s handled it a lot better than I have," Talley admitted in her interview with KAIT 8. This story of resilience and proactive measures serves as an encouraging template for parents to follow, ensuring fun times by the water are also safe times.