DES MOINES — For National Drowning Prevention Week, the Iowa Department of Public Health is issuing tips for parents and swimmers to make sure everyone stays safe in the waters this summer.
In 2018, there were 48 deaths statewide due to drowning. According to the CDC, about 10 people die from drowning every day. 20 percent of those deaths are children under the age of 14.
The department said the size of the body of water doesn’t matter, drowning can take place in any pool, lake, river or other recreational waters.
Mindy Uhle, who works in the Swimming Pools and Spa program at IDPH, said drowning deaths are completely preventable.
“Obviously wear a life jacket if you’re a non-swimmer any time you’re in or around recreational water,” she said. “Learn how to swim, teach your kids how to swim. And for parents always stay at an arms reach from any young kids or kids who aren’t able to swim.”
Uhle said that although life jackets are a great safety precaution, but don’t rely on them for emergencies.
“You have that false sense of security that that life jacket is gonna replace supervision or provide a level of safety, which it does, it provides a barrier for someone who is not swimming.” she said.
Uhle said the biggest thing parents can do is keep their eyes on children at all times.
“Always know exactly where your kids are, don’t look away for a second. Drowning can happen very quickly,” she said.