The Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner (IOSME) and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) today issued a reminder for parents and caregivers to keep a close eye on children playing in or around water.

“Since July 5, we’ve had two 2-year-olds and one 6-year-old die from drowning,” said acting State Medical Examiner Dennis Klein. “Adults losing track of the children for several minutes appears to be a major factor in these drownings.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowning is the leading cause of death by unintentional injury in children between the ages of 1 and 5.

Iowans should remember water safety year-round in pools, spas, indoor water parks and aquatic facilities. During the summer, equal attention needs to be paid when visiting beaches and lakes. “Parents and caregivers must provide direct supervision to all young children and non-swimmers, even when lifeguards are provided,” said Debbi Cooper, IDPH Environmental Health Specialist. Other safety tips to remember when near or in water:

  • Use lifejackets for non-swimmers to bridge momentary lapses in supervision.
  • All Iowans, children and adults alike, should use lifejackets on recreational waters.
  • Learn to swim and teach your children as well. Formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning, particularly among young children.
  • Provide fences with self-closing, self-latching closures around swimming pools and spas.
  • Avoid alcohol use while swimming or supervising children.

For more information on water safety, visit or