I grew up in South Africa and Australia so I LOVE the combination of sunshine and water as there’s no better place to be. But …Hot weather + bank holiday + half term + exam study leave = DANGER
Tragically last night a 16 year old drowned in the Lee Valley, Chester and I’m always so upset when I read of things like this and my thoughts are very much with his family and friends. Unfortunately drowning in the UK accounts for more accidental fatalities annually than fire deaths in the home or cycling deaths on the road.
On average 400 people in the UK die from drowning annually.
The ages most at risk are:
- Young children through being left unattended.
- Youths and teens due to risk taking, peer pressure and alcohol.
- 2 out of 3 casualties happen in open water…and male youths and teens are the MOST at risk.
- Sadly, 45% of children aged 7-11 cannot swim 25m unaided (1 length).
- Drowning has multiple causes and factors but DROWNING IS PREVENTABLE
- TRAIN your young children now that swimming = sunscreen and a cozzie. It can give you the vital pre-warning “heads up” that your child intends to get into the paddling pool or any kind of water.
- TRAIN them to NEVER enter water WITHOUT an adult
- NEVER swim alone
- ALWAYS swim where lifeguards are present.
- LEARN to swim
Water Safety at Home:
- EMPTY paddling pools/swimming pools of ALL toys as they are temptations children simply can’t resist.
- EMPTY paddling pools after EACH use and put upside down in event of rain.
- ALWAYS cover swimming pools, shut the gate, set alarm.
Water Safety on Holiday
A vast number of drownings occur in the first couple of hours as parents are distracted by unpacking or relaxing after the journey – be VIGILANT.
- ALWAYS teach children swim with an adult
- ALWAYS swim with your child one arms reach away.
- NEVER leave a child unattended even if using a buoyancy aid. Rubber sit-in rings can be lethal as if a young child loses balance and ends up head first in water they DO NOT have sufficient core strength to right themselves.
- ALCOHOL and water do not mix…don’t drink and swim, EVER
- WATER SAFETY at the beach
- ONLY swim between the flags
- ONLY swim where lifeguards on duty
- NEVER swim at sunset or sunrise as that is when sea “creatures” come to feed (not on you! But we’re easy pickings!!)
- NOTE tide times
- LEARN what the various flags mean,
- ASK where rip currents are
- AVOID swimming near piers, breakwater, coral, rocks.
- Swim PARALLEL to the beach and close to shore
- Inflatables can easily get blown out to sea - stay close to shoreline and NEVER unattended.
Water Safety in open water
Open water poses significant risk to young youths and teenagers.
Whilst open water looks so inviting, it poses a major danger. The water IS COLD and there are always fast flowing, invisible currents.
There are several invisible hazards – submerged shopping trolleys, bicycles, discarded fishing lines, knotted snagged fishing nets, unstable banks and reeds.
The vast majority of rural/non city emergency rescue services DO NOT have qualified open water rescuers and therefore they can not enter the water so have to call out specialist water rescue teams who come from much further away and can take a long time.
A lot of river ways and lakes do have signs posted which detail the GPS location to enable emergency services to find you – look out for these.
COLD WATER SHOCK is a major factor in open water drownings. (Most susceptible are males aged 18-29 years)
Signs of cold-water shock are:
- 0-3mins (initial immersion): gasping, hyperventilation, blood flow is restricted and panic,
- Short-term response/loss of performance (within 3 – 30 mins): Blood flow restriction continues to protect our major organs resulting in the loss of use to hands, feet and limbs. This results in a reduced ability to swim and our ability climb out to safety.
- After 30 minutes – hypothermia caused by loss of core body temperature causes loss of consciousness.
Puggles Swim School Ltd is committed to helping to prevent accidental drownings through awareness and supports the national drive to reduce accidental drownings by 50% by 2026.
As Puggles only teaches children aged 0-4 years we work on raising awareness in the parents/care givers and obviously NO child in these age groups are EVER water safe or drown-proof.
Puggles supports “National Drowning Prevention Week” 16-26 June and all current swimming lessons will specifically focus on this.
Puggles supports the belief that every child should have the opportunity to learn to swim and will be offering FREE taster lessons for the week of 10-16th June as part of the “National Learn to Swim” week – please get in touch. This is open to all children aged 7– 11 years who have never had lessons before.
Puggles runs 3 FREE swimming lessons to adults who are terrified of water – so please get in touch.