Dangerous waters: Adults drown at twice the rate of children in Arizona

Lifeguards are trained to assist individuals who aren’t great swimmers. (Photo by Christopher West/Cronkite News)

Many pools put on swimming classes for all age groups. (Photo by Christopher West/Cronkite News)

Public pools are a great place to learn the basics of swimming. (Photo by Christopher West/Cronkite News)

Many public pool have lifeguards on duty throughout the day. (Photo by Christopher West/Cronkite News)

Swimming is always fun, but remember – safety is paramount. (Photo by Christopher West/Cronkite News)

SCOTTSDALE — It takes a split second for the fun of splashing in a pool or lake to turn into danger, for children and adults.

In Arizona, adults drown twice as often as children, according to Lori Schmidt, president of the Drowning Prevention Coalition.

This year 23 people have died in water related fatalities, including 16 adults, according to Children’s Safety Zone’s website.

Schmidt said people who drink alcohol or use drugs, overestimate their swimming abilities and underestimate water conditions, or swim alone are most likely to get into trouble.

“It’s simply because we are going in alone and we are going in impaired,” Schmidt said. “Be aware of the risks. If you’re not feeling well don’t go in the water. And we highly recommend that you continue to swim with a buddy.”

Nicolas March, assistant manager at Scottsdale Aquatic Center, cautions swimmers can have heart attacks, seizures or strokes.

“There’s a lot of things that can happen in the water,” March said.

He and others recommend taking water-safety or swimming classes.