Fairfield Ledger

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Neighbors Growing Together | May 21, 2018

Helpful safety tips to reduce drowning risk

By Andy Hallman, Ledger news editor | Jun 21, 2017

Summer has officially begun.

The heat pushes many people to seek refuge in pools or ponds, and Jefferson County Environmental Health director Dan Miller wants to ensure everyone does so safely.

Miller said the public should be aware of the preventive actions they can take to prevent drowning in rivers, lakes and even bathtubs. Within the past week, a 19-year-old man drowned in Guthrie County when his kayak capsized.

Iowa Department of Public Health swimming pool and spa program coordinator Debbi Cooper said adults sometimes overestimate their swimming ability or underestimate the risk of something they perceive as perfectly safe, such as fishing from a bank.

“Most adults appropriately take water safety for children very seriously, but take unnecessary risk themselves,” she said.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation Thursday declaring June 18-24 as Drowning Prevention Week. During the past 10 years, an average of 37 Iowans have died each year from accidental drownings.

The IDPH published a list of guidelines and preventative steps to reduce the risk of drowning:

• Adults should always provide direct supervision of young children and non-swimmers.

• Formal swimming lessons have been shown to reduce the risk of drowning.

• Coast Guard-approved life jackets can reduce the risk of drowning.

• Don’t mix alcohol with a fun day on the water. Alcohol affects one’s judgment, coordination and sense of balance.

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