East Valley municipalities and fire departments played a neat trick on kids Saturday for April Pools Day.
Valley children played games, laughed at clowns, won prizes and swam. The trick is they were learning water safety in the process.
Events in Mesa, Scottsdale, Tempe and Chandler offered CPR demonstrations, mock drownings and other safety measures such as fingerprinting. The safety stuff was served up kiddie style in a carnival atmosphere with food and fun.
This year, the events came two weeks after 20-month-old Sharon Souza-Dotson and her sister, 3-year-old Arianna Souza-Dotson, died after being pulled from an unfenced backyard swimming pool in Gilbert.
In Mesa, kids attended the 14 th annual April Pools Day at Stapley Junior High School, 3205 E. Hermosa Vista.
Organizers Daniel Gallegos, a Mesa employee, and Michelle Buchanan of the Mesa Fire Department, said one key activity was a game in which kids answered safety questions for prizes.
The event’s estimated 1,200 children also placed their handprints on a contract vowing to "always swim with grown-ups" and "take water safety classes."
At Scottsdale’s fifth annual April Pools Day at the Cactus Aquatic Center, 7202 E. Cactus Road, it was fun and games until the mock drowning.
Three lifeguards blew their whistles and everyone scattered from the pool, except for the "victim."
As the children watched, lifeguards quickly went to work and then waited for Rural/Metro paramedics and a helicopter that whisked the pretend victim to Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn hospital.