PEORIA -- After the drowning of a five-year-old boy in a Peoria apartment swimming pool over the weekend, Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood is emphasizing the importance of knowing how to swim.
Jeremiah Wilson drowned at the Brandywine Crossing apartments pool on Friday afternoon. No foul play is suspected in his death.
“I think the importance of swimming lessons is so paramount. Your children need to have swimming lessons, and I think that goes without saying. They have to be 100 percent supervised by the pool at all times," said Harwood.
Harwood also says he thinks there should be a specific adult-to-child ratio when young kids are around a pool.
A recent report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says fatal child drownings are on the rise. Three hundred and eighty nine children younger than fifteen drowned in 2016, the last reported year. Seventy four percent of those kids were younger than five. Seventy two percent of those drownings happened in residential areas.
Harwood says the safest thing for a child to use in a pool if they cannot swim is a life jacket, not an inflatable ring or arm floatation devices.
Anita Kapadia, the Acquatics Coordinator for the Peoria Park District, agrees a life jacket is the best solution. She said the park district has acquatics classes for children as young as 6 months. You can find more information here or by calling Kapadia at (309) 282-1531.