Bedfordshire Police, Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, local councils, health bodies and local Safeguarding Children Boards are calling on parents and children to stay safe around water.
Under-estimating the dangers of water can have tragic consequences. The key to staying safe is making the right choices to avoid getting into difficulty in the first place.
Follow these top tips to help keep you safe:
- take notice of safety information, warning signs and flags
- do not jump or dive or tombstone into rivers; it may be hot outside but the water temperature is likely to be cold and could cause your body to go into cold water shock;
- it's hard to judge the depth of a river or lake just by looking, and there could be submerged dangers such as weeds or rubbish
- always keep your children under supervision and ensure they do not get out of their depth
- don’t let your children play in the water if you have or are consuming alcohol, don’t drink and swim
- if you see someone in trouble in the water call 999 immediately, don’t go into the water to help them, use a lifebelt, tree branch or some implement to help them, going into the water risks your life too
- don't go into water near locks, weirs, sluices, bridges and pipes as these structures are often linked with strong currents
- the water in rivers and lakes can be colder than you expect at any time of the year; cold water shock will affect your ability to swim, look after yourself, or rescue others
- get trained in lifesaving and resuscitation techniques so you know what to do in an emergency
- airbeds, inner tubes and other flotation devices can easily be carried or blown in to deep water and may not keep you afloat
Those using swimming pools are also at risk. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) state that over the last six years 30 children under 10-years-old have drowned in holiday swimming pools abroad, with over half of these victims being under four-years-old.
The safeguarding children boards are therefore reminding parents to think about water safety before booking a holiday and also take precautions whilst on holiday to make sure children are safe.
Here are some things you should consider
Before you go:
- Check the safety arrangements in advance; does the pool have a life guard?
- Tell your children never to swim alone.
- Take a first aid course so you know how to resuscitate a child.
When you are there:
- Actively supervise all young children near water; even if they have an older sibling who is a strong swimmer, you should always stay close by.
- Even if a pool has a lifeguard, you should always know where your children are, and what they are doing in the water.
- If possible let children take swimming classes while on holiday to help them gain water confidence and learn essential water safety skills.
- Be mindful of inflatables, even competent swimmers can get in difficulties, so make sure children are fully supervised.
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