With the summer holidays just a few months away, you’re no doubt looking forward to a nice relaxing family getaway. Whether you’re staying in the UK or jetting off abroad or your preferred method of splashing around is in a pool or in the sea, every parent or guardian’s main concern is water safety for kids.
Drowning is the third biggest cause of death in children in the UK with more than 60 young lives being claimed every summer. What makes these statistics even more heart-breaking is that the majority of these deaths are likely to have been preventable - https://www.teachingtimes.com/news/drowning-problem.htm
The last thing you want is for your summer holiday to end in tragedy so below we’ve listed how you can keep your children safe in the water.
It’s a good idea to send your child to swimming lessons as early as you can. Not only are kids naturally curious, drowning can occur anywhere - not just in a pool or at the beach. Incidents have been known to occur in fountains, inflatable pools, small bodies of standing water, buckets, sinks and even the toilet bowl.
Even if your child is a strong swimmer, please don’t assume that they’re no longer at risk of drowning. All kids need to be supervised in the water at all times, regardless of their ability.
Invest in a floatation device
One of the best ways to practice water safety for kids is to invest in a proper-fitting, Coast Guard approved flotation device. Check the weight and size recommendations on the label and ensure it fits snugly.
For children under the age of five, choose a vest with a strap between the legs and head support. The collar will keep their head up and face out of the water which is very important.
Ensure your child wears a flotation device at all times when they’re near water. You can find out more about choosing the right flotation device for your child by following this link:
Look out for safety signs
If you’re heading to a swimming pool, make sure you look out for deep water safety signs. These may be especially common in hotel pools which tend to have just the one pool for everyone to use.
Leisure complexes are more likely to have separate pools for children. Try to stick to these if you can because the water will be shallow and you also don’t have to worry about children getting caught up among strong adult swimmers trying to do lengths.
Even if you’re in shallow water, stay vigilant because believe it or not, it’s possible to drown in as little as 5cm of water.
If you’re planning on swimming in open water, it’s incredibly important to look out for any safety signs before doing so. Approximately 85% of drownings occur at open water sites and many of them are the result of a lack of knowledge about the associated hazards.
If you see deep water safety signs, this may not be the best place to swim if you have children – especially if you can’t touch the bottom yourself. If you’re at the beach, look out for warnings of strong currents and if there are signs warning people not to enter the water, obey them. Even in perfect swimming conditions, it’s also a good idea to head to a section of the beach where there’s a lifeguard on duty.
Teach your kids how to stay safe
While children should always be supervised around water, it’s still a great idea to teach them basic safety rules. These include:
- Telling them to find a lifeguard if there’s an emergency
- No running, pushing or playing around the pool
- No diving in areas that say no diving
- Never going near water unless there’s an adult supervising them
- Getting out of the water immediately if the weather turns bad (especially if there’s lightning)
- Never enter the water unless they have their personal flotation device securely fitted by an adult
We’re more than happy to discuss water safety for kids in more detail if necessary. If you’d like any further information on this topic, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.