1st graders learn skills at Water Safety Day event in Mesa - Fox 2 News Headlines

1st graders learn skills at Water Safety Day event in Mesa

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MESA, Ariz. -

Three valley children were found in backyard pools last week alone. One didn't make it.

It's a story we tell over and over and with it a very important message: Watch your kids around water.

On Tuesday, a special event was held to teach children how to stay safe around water at Mesa Community College.

Water Safety Day is the brain child of a mother who suffered the worst tragedy -- her son drowned.

Weston Thomas Letter was born September 23, 1994.  He was almost 4-years-old when he drowned in the backyard pool.

"We were both safety aware parents who thought we had everything covered in terms of swim lessons, pool fencing," said Weston's mother, Duran Letter, who recalls the day as the worst of her life.

She vowed at that moment to save as many other children from the same fate, teaching them how to stay safe around water.

Letter started Water Safety Day 15 years ago.

"You need to have multiple layers of protection.  Why Weston didn't when he fell into the water.. didn't do what he had been taught to do for three years.. we will never know," she said.

1,100 Mesa first graders learned the ABC's of water safety -- singing songs that will remind them what to do around water.  What to do if something goes wrong and to never be by the water unattended.

"That you can float on your back and you could actually use a towel to grab onto a person," said Allie Booth.

88 silhouettes represent the valley children who nearly drowned last year.  78 survived.  The ten pairs of shoes represent those who didn't.

"So far, we've had 23 water related incidents in the valley, five pediatric deaths unfortunately," said Larissa Dvorak of the Mesa Fire Department.

Experts say barriers are key.  Life vests, alarms, but most important is adult supervision -- a lesson Letter learned first hand.

"Losing a child is the most horrific thing anyway, but when you live everyday knowing he could be here if you would have done what you should have done is very hard sentence to live with," said Letter.

Online: www.mesacc.edu/community/water-safety-day


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