Police officers and firefighters responded to reports of a drowning near 38th and Missouri avenues shortly after 6 p.m. The girl was reportedly playing on the first step of a swimming pool when she slipped off and fell underwater. It’s unclear who long she was submerged. Phoenix police officers found the girl, who was not breathing and had no pulse. She was rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center where she was listed in critical condition.
The federal government reports that drowning is the leading cause of preventable death for children under 5. Each year, an average of 385 children under 15 drown in swimming pools or spas — the vast majority are small children under the age of 5.
The Arizona Department of Health Services reports an average of about 90 people drown in Arizona swimming pools each year.
Last week, the Consumer Products Safety Commission launched a nationwide campaign aimed at pool safety to coincide with Memorial Day weekend and the start of summer swimming season. The Pool Safety Campaign operates a website with a wealth of safety information for parents and kids.
Arizona law (A.R.S. § 39-121.03) mandates specific safety requirements for residential swimming pools, including strict requirements for pool enclosures, gates, pool covers and other safety devices.
The Arizona Department of Health Services makes the following recommendations for pool safety:
-Never leave a child unattended.
-Flotation devices and swimming lessons are no substitute for supervision.
-CPR instructions and emergency contact information should be posted in the pool area.
-Residential pool owners should have CPR training.
-Lifesaving equipment should be easily accessible.
-Gates and locks should be checked regularly to ensure they are functioning properly.
-Gates should never be left open.
-All items that could be used to climb a pool barrier should be removed from the area.