MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The past few days have been deadly on Minnesota waters.

A 3-year-old boy drowned in a lake in Nisswa on Monday, and over 5-year-old girl and a woman died in a boating accident on Lac qui Parle, as the two were without life jackets.

Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Goddard said life jackets are critical for children.

“If they are going to be near the water, we want it to be second nature, almost like wearing a seat belt in the car,” he said. “If they’re going to be near water, whether it’s fishing off a dock, or in a boat, or on the shore, wear the life jacket.”

He said children are naturally curious about water, and if they fall in, the life jacket gives them the added help they need to survive.

“The young children, the first thing they are going to do is gasp and inhale the water,” he said. “And even if that takes place, that life jacket will give them a second defense to stay above the surface and and hopefully get their feet on the ground and get themselves out of the water.”

Goddard said the current life jackets are more comfortable for children.

“They give a lot more freedom to the kids too, to be able to move around, instead of the old orange vest, or horse collar ones,” he said.

DNR water safety expert Kari Owens and said it’s the law for children under the age of 10 to wear life jackets when on a boat.