Child drowning number cut in half in 2013

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- The water in Arizona was a lot safer last year, according to new numbers from drowning prevention advocates.  Child drownings were cut in half in 2013 versus 2012, and adult drownings were down, too.

The Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona has been doing everything it can to stop people from dying in the water and it seems to be working.  In 2012, 20 kids drowned in Maricopa County compared to 10 last year. Adult drownings fell too, from 40 in 2012 to 33 last year.

While tall fences around pools, life jackets at the lake and supervision around all water are important to prevent drowning, awareness has been one of the biggest weapons in the prevention fight.

“Talking about water safety classes -- we want people to know how to swim,” said Lori Schmidt, president of DPCA. “We've been able to show that when kids start swimming lessons very early, parents learn that it's important for them to be vigilant.  They don't just automatically think, 'My child is drown-proof now and I don't have to watch them."’

One other thing the DPCA wants people to remember is that drowning is an all year problem, especially in the Valley where everybody has a pool with water all year long. Just because it's chilly, advocates say, doesn't mean you can let your guard down.