Deb Cooper, at the Iowa Department of Public Health, says it’s vital to follow safety rules when you’re around a body of water, especially as we head into the hot, busy 4th of July weekend.
“The thing I can’t stress enough is to watch children around open areas of water,” Cooper says, “whether it’s at the swimming pool or at a lake or a pond, always keep your eye on children.”
According to state records over the past decade, as many as 43 people drown in Iowa during 2005, while there were 22 deaths from drowning in 2009. Cooper credits the role pool lifeguards play in keeping everyone safe and in keeping water quality healthy.
“Most public swimming pools do provide lifeguards and you should always swim in an area where there’s a lifeguard, that’s the safest way,” Cooper says. “There are people at the swimming pools who regularly test the water to make sure the chemical levels are staying up where they should.”
All Iowans are encouraged to learn how to swim and how to perform CPR. “Always wear a life jacket around open bodies of water,” Cooper says. “Two-thirds of drowning victims are good swimmers, so it’s important you wear a life jacket when you’re around those areas of water.”
Find more tips at the state health department website: www.idph.state.ia.us.
(Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)