Despite the brief cold spell of late, summer is well and truly upon us, and I bet like our family you've been dusting down the paddling pool or going swimming to cool down.
With young children, especially those too young to swim by themselves, it's vital to pay attention to safety in the water – at least 60 children drown during the summer in the UK each year.
So what's the best way to keep your children safe, without making them afraid of water? Here's the Royal Life Saving Society UK's guide to staying safe near the water:
Paddling pools, ponds, water butts, basins and baths are all possible hazards
Do not let children use paddling pools without adult supervision.
Explain to your children the dangers of garden ponds
– how they often cannot climb out if they fall in
– how it is often cold and deep
Always be with your child when they are around water
When at the swimming pool
- Walk with your child on the poolside so they do not trip or slip – keep reminding them that it's 'Walk, not run' near a pool.
- Listen to the lifeguards
- Tell your child to only get into the water when told to do so by an adult
- Children should be careful not to jump onto anyone in the water. An adult should check the water is deep enough for diving
- If your child wears armbands make sure they do not take them off without an adult being there.
- It is important that children do not enter the water if someone is in trouble. Show them how to get help by asking a bystander or calling 999
- Teach your children to swim at the earliest chance and make sure they know how to float and how to signal for help
Lifesaving and water safety courses are available for 8 to 12 year-olds. The RLSS UK has launched Rookie Lifeguard, a children's water safety programme designed to save young lives. Find a course near you via this link..