The UK’s Drowning Prevention Charity offers some important water safety advice for parents.
It doesn’t have to be gloriously sunny outside for us to want to get out and about in the garden, in the pool and at the beach. With summer holidays on the horizon, the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), the drowning prevention charity, issues a timely reminder of how you and your family can enjoy the water safely.
“The Water Safety Code is not about laying down the law and restricting people’s fun,” explains Mike Dunn, RLSS UK Deputy Director of Education and Research.
“Traditionally, the summer months have the highest incidences of drowning, as people seek quick, easy ways to cool off and have a good time in the water. The Water Safety Code is just a few simple, easy to remember steps that will help keep you, your friends and your family safe around water this year. RLSS UK believe that an accidental drowning is a tragic yet preventable loss of life. We’d like to encourage people to spread the Water Safety Code so everyone can enjoy the water safely.”Water Safety Code Whenever you are around the water:
STOP AND THINK Look out for dangers and always read the signs.
STAY TOGETHER Never swim alone, always go with friends or family. Only swim when there is a lifeguard. In an emergency: CALL 999Call 999 (UK) or 112 and call or shout for help.
FLOAT If you fall in, float or swim on your back. Throw something that floats to anyone in the water. Other things to consider are:
Be your family’s lifeguard
Whether there are lifeguards at your resort or not, you can keep a closer eye on your family than anyone else. Make sure no-one in your family swims alone, and watch everybody like their lives depend on it (because they do). Also, try to choose a holiday company that provides lifeguarded facilities.
Keep children safe
As well as keeping children under constant supervision, make sure that they wear their swimming/safety aid all the time when they are around the water. To stop them wriggling out of it at every opportunity, choose an aid which doesn’t restrict their movement and that they are happy/comfortable wearing in the water and on land (such as a SwimFin).
Swim now, drink later
Don’t mix alcohol and swimming. Alcohol is a factor in 20% of drownings in the UK alone.
Look out for more tips and courses as part of RLSS UK’s Drowning Prevention Week, which runs this year from 15 - 25 June. Find out more at rlss.org.uk/dpw
EduardoFerré, founder of Swimming Nature, the UK’s premium provider of swimming tuition, provides his top tips for water safety this summer.
Check safety arrangements at your local pool
When researching your holiday, check the safety arrangements of any water-based activities and if there is lifeguard cover at the pool or beach
Make sure your child is water confident
If your children are afraid of water or can’t swim, consider registering them in bespoke 2:1 lessons with Swimming Nature, at a number of sites across London including RFC Recreation Club, Marriott Park Regents Park and Fitness First Highbury, Kensington Holiday Inn, Fitness First Hammersmith. With an instructor that trains you in the water with just one other child, this unique teaching method maximises teaching and contact time, helping to ensure rapid progress.
While on Holiday
Always check beaches or pools for hazards and always read the signs. Find out what local warning signs and flags mean. If you’re not sure, ask someone
Take time to check the depth, water flow and layout of pools
On beaches, check when the tide will be high and low and make sure that you won’t be cut off from the beach exit by the rising tide. Also, be aware of dangerous rip-currents
Inflatables 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, breakwater or coral
Swim parallel to the beach and close to the shore