Families are being given water safety tips as the warm weather brings residents outdoors.
This bank holiday weekend, the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) - the drowning prevention charity - is encouraging families to stay safe while enjoying the outdoors.
Open water can be a source of fun and learning for families with young children, but it also presents very real and often underestimated dangers if simple safety rules are ignored.
More than 60 children drown during the summer every year in the UK, yet the majority of these deaths are likely to have been preventable, says the charity. Around 85 per cent of accidental drownings occur at open water sites, and many of these occur due to lack of knowledge and understanding of the hazards associated.
“Being clear on water safety and steps to take to keep everyone safe in and around water could mean the difference between an enjoyable day out, and a devastating family tragedy,” says RLSS UK chief executive Di Standley.
Here are the RLSS UK’s simple tips to keep your family safe around open water:
* Check the tidal activity when at the coast
* Avoid drifting in the currents
* Get out of the water as soon as you start to feel cold
* Swim parallel to the shore (not away from it)
* Ensure children’s buoyancy aids fit properly
* Take extra care on river banks, they are often slippery and can crumble and beware of locks and weirs where water flows quickly
In addition to the above tips, ensure you and your family know the SAFE code: Spot – spot the dangers; Advice – follow safety signs and advice; Friend – stay close to a friend or family member; Emergency – shout for help and call 999 or 112.
The RLSS UK runs courses for all ages in lifesaving, and Rookie Lifeguards, a children’s water safety programme designed to help children save lives.