As the meteorologists have told us, 2020 has brought us a hotter than average summer, and with August yet to come, the prospect of more high heat is all but certain.

The scorching temperatures have presented a further challenge as the coronavirus pandemic, which first surfaced in the U.S. during late winter has stretched into the height of summer. With the possibility of cooling off at a public pool cut off by the crisis, people have turned to other sources for relief, including the above ground or inflatable pools that have been placed in many a backyard.

Their increased use has led to a warning from the Illinois State Fire Marshal and Department of Children and Family Services. While these pools appear relatively harmless, they can actually be deadly as it takes only a matter of moments for a young one to drown. During 2019, 22 children under the age of 18 died because of an accidental drowning in Illinois, of which 10 involved pools.

Now, the backyard pools can be relatively safe if close supervision and other precautions are followed. But what do you do if you’re not willing to take a chance?

The Kankakee Valley Park District might have the answer. As the public eagerly awaits the reopening of the Splash Valley Aquatic Park in 2021, another attraction that had been closed, the Bird Park Splash Pad, has reopened.

Beginning this week, the pad will be open from noon to 2 p.m. each Tuesday and Thursday through Aug. 13. There is no cost, although some restrictions exist.

The capacity limit is 25 people, and a first-come, first-served approach will be used. All children must be accompanied by an adult. The noon to 12:45 time slot is reserved for toddlers up to age 5, and the 1 to 2 time slot for children ages 6 to 10. Furthermore, while the full splash pad remains inoperable, it will feature hoses with sprinklers to dispense refreshing water.

Nothing is exactly ideal in this strange summer. But as park district officials stated in announcing the plan, “we decided to offer this as a means for the children to have a touch of summer normalcy.’’

We applaud the move and encourage the public to support it.

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