10-15 children drown a year in Maricopa County

Posted at 7:43 AM, May 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-22 13:59:18-04

It's pool season, so we are taking action to keep you and your family safe. Arizona remains one of the top states for drownings and now, we're taking a closer look at the numbers.

The school year is winding down, but before kids at Laguna Elementary School in Scottsdale go on summer vacation, there's one last lesson to learn, and this one could save their lives.

"It's heartbreaking because you know every single one of our drownings is preventable," explains Lori Schmidt, who works for the Scottsdale Fire Department and is also the president of the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona. She says on average, 10-15 kids drown in Maricopa County alone each year. 

"It's terrifying to listen to voices on the other line and listen to their horror and what has happened in their own homes."

Schmidt also says in the winter, lack of proper barriers are the biggest concern. But in the summer months, it's all about the distractions and not keeping a close enough eye on our kids around water.

According to the website, there are roughly ten drownings every day in this country alone. 

Most of those drownings, about 70 percent, involve young boys. Three out of every four drownings happen at someone's home.

"If a child is under the water for more than three minutes," says Schmidt, "we're really getting into the danger zone."

In the classroom, Schmidt says she hopes today's lessons can prevent tomorrow's tragedies.

So far this year, there have been 17 total drownings in Maricopa County -- six involving kids and 11 adults.

Schmidt says this is partly because people are drinking or taking medication and then swimming when they shouldn't be. They're also not wearing life jackets out in the open water. And finally, their not honest about their own swimming abilities.

For more water safety tips, click here.