The drowning deaths of two young children over two days on Manitoulin Island have prompted a police warning about water safety.

Both deaths happened in Lake Huron — one involved a 6-year-old from Wikwemikong and the other involved a 21-month-old from Mindemoya.

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OPP Inspector Mark Andrews said it only takes seconds for a child to drown in shallow water. (CBC)

The second drowning happened Monday, when a young couple and their six children were attending a family picnic.

Police said the mother looked away momentarily to change the diaper of one of the other infants. When she looked back the  21-month-old boy was gone. A quick search located the infant, who was floating, face down, in the shallow water.  The father immediately started CPR on the infant while 911 were called.

Inspector Mark Andrews with the Ontario Provincial Police said parents should not underestimate the danger of shallow water situations.

"You can be in three inches of water and have this happen," he said.

"If they lose their balance and go face-down in the water and try to breathe, they will succumb very quickly and it [only] takes seconds."

Andrews said police are continuing to investigate both deaths.