How to Keep Your Child Safe in the Water this Summer

Teaching children to be safe near water is an essential skill and vital for all parents.  More than 300 people drown in accidents each year, and in the last five years 56 children under the age of 11 have drowned.  For every drowning death that occurs, there are more than 10 near drownings, with many of these causing life-altering injuries.

Drowning Prevention charity, the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS), strongly believe that lives could be saved if only children and young people were taught how to be safe near water.  Their aim is to equip everyone, young and old, with the basic water safety skills to help them identify risks and make informed choices around water-based activities.

The majority of drowning incidents can be prevented, especially with children.  No family should ever have to go through the pain of losing a child through drowning.  Making sure everyone is aware of the basic principles of water safety helps to keep families safe, and means you can still enjoy the water.

Here's what you can do to help keep your family safe this summer:

At home

• Always use self-closing gates, fences and locks to prevent children from gaining access to pools of water.  Cover ponds with safety grids.

• Securely cover all water storage tanks and drains.

• Empty paddling pools and buckets as soon as they have been used.  Always turn paddling pools upside down once empty.

• Always supervise children at bath time and never leave them unattended.  Empty the bath as soon as possible after use.

On holiday

• When planning your holiday, choose somewhere with lifeguard cover at the pool or beach.  Check the safety arrangements arrangements of any water-based activities, and check again once you arrive.

• Check swimming beaches for hazards, check the safest places to swim and always read the signs – find out what local warning signs and flags look like in advance if you can.  Take time to check the depth, water flow and layout of pools before you swim.

• Swim with any children in your care – it’s more fun and you can keep them close and safe.

• Check tide times at beaches and make sure that you won’t be cut off from the beach exit by the rising tide.  Be aware of dangerous rip-currents.

• Inflatable dinghies or lilos are a well-known hazard – each year there are drownings as people on inflatables are blown out to sea.  Do not use them in open water.

• Do not swim near to or dive from rocks, piers, breakwaters or coral.

• Swim parallel to the beach and close to the shore.

Drowning Prevention Week runs from 15-25 June and is now in its fifth year.  Its aim is to help put water safety at the forefront of people's minds as we head into summer, a high-risk time of year for drowning.  This national awareness-raising campaign sees schools, leisure centres and community groups working with their local communities to teach children and young people how to stay safe near water.

Stay safe this summer!

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