As water-related deaths mount, officials stressing the importance of water safety

The Valley is off to a rough year in terms of water safety, as crews have already responded to several drowning incidents.

May is National Drowning Prevention Awareness Month, but in the Valley, three children have already drowned in May.

On May 20, Phoenix Fire crews responded to a two-year-old boy who was underwater for an unknown amount of time. The boy was rushed to the hospital, and is expected to recover.

A Chandler girl, however, was not so lucky. Chandler Police officials said on May 19 that crews pulled the seven-year-old out of a pool at an apartment complex near Arizona Avenue and Ray Road. She was declared dead after she was taken to the hospital.

The girl reportedly slipped past a gated fence alone for some reason.

Related: PD: Child dies after being pulled from Chandler pool

"You’ve got a remember when you live in an apartment complex, it’s a village, and anytime you leave the gate open, you might as well take the entire fence down. You’re giving access to any child in that community," said Lori Schmidt with Scottsdale Fire Department.

Fire officials stress ABCs of water safety

Jennifer Fletcher never takes her eye off her kids, two-year-old Riley and four-year-old Lauren, while they are in the water.

"You can you turn your back for an instant -- I’m the bathroom got a snack, whatever, might be turned around, and they’re gone," said Fletcher.

Schmidt says when a child drowns, often one or more of the ABCs of child water safety - adult supervision, barriers, and swimming classes, along with CPR, are missing.

"So, I need to get those layers of protection in place to reduce the risk of drowning, and give us a few seconds for us to realize there’s a problem so they can stop the tragedy from happening," said Schmidt.

For the Fletcher family, the ABCs are all in place. There will be many more swim lessons to come, as well as a mother who is always watching,

"This is for the safety of the child, and we have a pool fence. I don’t know what I’d do without it. It is literally a lifesaver," said Fletcher.

Adults also vulnerable to drowning

According to officials, adults can also be victims of drowning. So far, nine adults have drowned in 2021 in the Valley, and the most dangerous holiday - Memorial Day - is fast approaching.

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