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Up to 75 Arizonans May Drown This Year

PHOTO: Summertime in Arizona can be a deadly season in backyard swimming pools and on lakes and rivers, but National Drowning Prevention Month each May stresses water safety. Photo credit: City of Phoenix.
PHOTO: Summertime in Arizona can be a deadly season in backyard swimming pools and on lakes and rivers, but National Drowning Prevention Month each May stresses water safety. Photo credit: City of Phoenix.
May 26, 2015

PHOENIX - If statistics hold steady, up to 75 children and adults in Arizona will die this year as a result of drowning. Lori Schmidt, president with the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona, says the purpose of National Drowning Prevention Month held each May is to stress the importance of water safety. She adds, being in any body of water can be dangerous.

"We've had a lot of open water drownings, meaning, drownings at lakes and rivers last year," Schmidt says. "We want to raise that awareness that it's not just pools and spas, it's going to be open water."

Schmidt says two out of three drowning victims in Arizona are adults, with the leading causes being health events in older people and drugs and alcohol in younger adults. She says the state averages about 75 drownings each year.

Schmidt says it's vital children and adults in or near the water know how to swim, and adds putting up a five-foot wrought iron pool fence can help prevent child drownings. She says children should not be left alone around any kind of water.

"That can also mean shutting the bathroom door," she says. "If you've got a curious kid, they don't always know the toilet is a gross place to play. We have actually had kids drown in weird things toilets, buckets, dog dishes, fish tanks."

Schmidt says another important safety tip is to always wear a life-jacket on open water.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - AZ