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269 Drownings from 1995 - 2001
Only 6 with Fences and Locked Gates

April 17, 2003

Arizona Republic

Letter to the Editor:

I read with interest comments made by a member of the Gilbert Town Council in the Wednesday, April 16th edition of the Arizona Republic “Deaths Put a Focus on Pool Safety in Gilbert”.

Dave Peterson made the statement that many drownings occur in pools that have fences and a fence wouldn’t have made a difference.

According to statistics put out by the Arizona Child Fatality Review Team, there were 269 drownings studied between 1995 and 2001. It was found that there were only 6 deaths that occurred in backyard pools in which it was know that there was an adequate pool fence, and a properly functioning locked gate. In at least two of these 6, the child had access to the pool from the doggy door.

The Arizona Child Fatality Review Team determined that supervision of the child, and pool fencing could have prevented 90% of the drowning deaths that occurred in backyard pools.

For Mr. Peterson, and any of the other members of the Gilbert City Council to believe that fences don’t make a difference or that just parental supervision will take care of the problem, they are sadly mistaken.

If the City Council had taken the responsible position of supporting the barrier code they originally put in place, perhaps the tragic drowning of the 2 girls this past weekend could have been avoided.


John L. Harrington, Jr
Drowning Prevention Coalition of Central Arizona
Reproduced with permission from:
Drowning Prevention Coalition
By John L. Harrington, Jr
Copyright 2003 DPCCA

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