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ABCs of drowning can prevent tragedies

Aug. 10, 2006

There are no do-overs when it comes to drowning.

That is the message that Gilbert Mayor Steve Berman conveyed last week during a council meeting where he proclaimed August as Drowning Impact Awareness Month, as did Chandler and other cities across the state. The public is urged to take the message beyond council chambers and into their daily routines in Gilbert, Chandler and Ahwatukee Foothills.

Berman said it takes a village to prevent drownings, adding that drowning is an area you cannot "do over."

The mayor is right.

Each of us - from moms and dads to aunts, grandfathers, siblings, cousins, neighbors and friends - has an important role to play in the statewide effort to prevent drownings. Because the stakes are too high to be negligent around water.

Drownings take the lives of innocent people and shatter the lives of family members. Forever.

The tragedies also affect classmates. Neighbors. Friends.

Drownings often occur in backyard swimming pools, but we mustn't forget that danger also lurks around toilets, bathtubs, buckets and canals.

We usually think of children as being victims of drownings, but adults drown, too. And all can be saved when we follow the ABCs - adult supervision, barriers and classes for swimming lessons and CPR - of water safety.

Water Watchers at Phoenix Children's Hospital and local fire departments promote the ABCs throughout the monthlong campaign.

The public also is encouraged to wear a purple ribbon to raise awareness in others, spreading the message far and wide to prevent drownings and to save lives.

Our communities are brimming with families with young children and an abundance of backyard swimming pools.

Municipal aquatic centers, such as Mesquite in Gilbert, Hamilton in Chandler and Pecos Park in Ahwatukee Foothills, are popular spots for kids during the summer months.

But our warm weather creates an environment conducive to water activities beyond August, and underscores the need to take preventive measures year-round.

We can start with simple eye-to-eye contact around water at all times. We can look into the various pool barriers that are available on the market as well as making certain that barriers and gates are in good working condition, and keeping the pool area clear of toys that could attract a child's attention. We also would be wise to take a CPR class and enroll our children in swimming lessons.

Together we can save lives. This message cannot be echoed enough.
Reproduced with permission from:
The Arizona Republic
By Stephanie Paterik
Copyright 2003 Arizona Republic

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