I can't wrap my head around the fact that even though the swim season has not officially started here in Arizona, 8 children have already died from drowning. I couldn't even finish reading a huge article in the Arizona Republic about the problem. It is heartbreaking to think that 21 children died last year, 20 in 2009 and 17 the year before.
How do these tragedies happen? A parent is distracted for just a few seconds; a child sees the pool and finds a way to get to it; pool barriers are not in place. In one instance a child crawled through the doggie door even though the door was smaller than he was. Even when all precautions are taken: self-latching gates, a 5-6 foot fence, doors that swing away from the pool - even with all these, children can find a way to get to the pool if they're determined.
I can't imagine their grief or the colossal sense of guilt & self-condemnation parents or caregivers are left with. All the "what ifs" in the world will not make that intense pain in their hearts go away, ever. My heart goes out to all of them. They never expected this, never saw it coming, never in a million years thought they would suffer such heartache. The death of a child by drowning in an event that could have been prevented is beyond comprehension. My stomach is churning even as I write this.
According to the Arizona Republic's article, here are some ways to prevent drowning:
*Adult supervision around the pool-
*Pool barricades such as a fence which can be locked-
*Lifesaving devices should be within arm's reach, like flotation devices and/or a pole-
*Make sure doggie doors are locked and barricaded from direct access to pools-
*Teach your children to swim at an early age-
*And NEVER, EVER leave a child without eye contact near a pool, lake, pond, canal
or any source of water...and that means bathtubs and toilets, too!
It is bad enough to read about these tragic stories. It is so much worse to be the subject of them. Please keep your eyes and ears on all children around any kind of water. Keep them safe. Please.