Staying Safe around Water this Summer
An article by GetSetGo Co-Founder, Claire Harrison
Whilst this week is set to see the hottest temperatures on record and we also look forward to a summer holiday full of fun at home, the beach or by the pool, it’s also a time to be mindful of how to keep your family safe by the water.
The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), continually works hard to raise awareness of the water safety code and aims to reduce the number of drowning and nonfatal drowning incidents that occur in the UK every year, by showing people how to be safe and have fun near water.
More than 700 people drown in the UK and Ireland every year, that’s one every 10 hours and many more suffer injury, sometimes life changing when they survive drowning.
And whilst these are super scary statistics, there are many things that you as a parent can do to ensure your family stays safe and enjoys the water.
Learn to Swim
Simple right? But did you know that over 40% of children leave school not being able to swim. We advise everyone to start lessons as early as possible. Being introduced to water as a baby can mean that some simple mechanics of swimming, breathing techniques and the ability to float and survive is already there and the fear that often accompanies a child’s first lessons at the age of 3 or 4 years old is bypassed.
Stay aware when on holiday
With the school holidays just around the corner and many of you looking forward to your summer holidays, weekends away and trips to the seaside, it’s sensible to turn our attention to keeping your family safe around water.
Often the excitement of these trips can mean that normal safety actions are not followed and the temptation to just jump in before weighing up the risks can often lead to accidents.
Here are some simple guidelines to staying safe when on holiday…
- Keep young children under constant supervision, it doesn’t take much water depth to get into trouble and in any case, it’s more fun to swim together!
- Look for Lifeguards – a safe pool or beach will always have one on duty. They will be trained about the water risks in a given environment and will give you added reassurance for your family.
- Its colder than it looks! Open water can be much cooler than you think and this can affect your ability to swim, even if you think you know how!
- Follow the pool rules and signs – never dive into a shallow pool and make sure that you are aware of water flow, temperature and layout.
- Never swim alone – and make sure that you know where your family is at all times.
- Don’t use inflatables in the sea – they are a well-known hazard and can easily drift out or get caught in strong currents.
- Be aware of the beach flags and signs – keep to the safe areas and know when the tides are coming in and out. Dangerous rip-tides are a big threat so follow the advice offered.
- Swim parallel to the shore and keep away from rocky areas.
- If you get into trouble in water – wave your hand and shout loud but try and stay calm. The current advice is to float on your back to conserve energy.
- Drowning does not look like it does in the movies. It can be silent and you need to be aware of the signs. RLSS.org.uk is a wealth of information.
- Take a first aid course. – There are lots of paediatric courses on offer, we even run some at GetSetGo!. It could save a life.
- Use floatation aids if you need to – they may not be used in your swimming lessons, but they can offer reassurance when on holiday. We LOVE Swim Fins (https://swimfin.co.uk) which are fun for kids too.
- Know the S-A-F-E Code
S – Spot Danger
A – Follow Advice
F – Stay close to Family members for Friends
E – shout for help and know the Emergency numbers for where you are
It’s Never too late to learn:
We cannot tell you how many times we get told by parents that they can’t swim themselves. Or that they are fearful of passing on their fear of water to their little ones. And whilst it’s inspiring that they are ensuring their children will not be in that position, we say, come and learn to swim too. Then you too, can stay safe and enjoy the water with your children! One of our biggest satisfactions is teaching a nervous adult to swim and to overcome one of their biggest life challenges!
Stay safe, be aware and definitely invest in learning to swim, but whatever you do and wherever you are…enjoy the water too!
If you have time, head to the RLSS page on Water Safety for more top tips!
GetSetGo Family Club offers swimming lessons 7 days a week alongside a whole timetable of other clubs and classes (including First Aid for parents) from their Flagship location in Putney, London.
0208 050 0070