My passion is the water and I love being in, on or around it. I am, however, very aware of the dangers of water. A person of any age can get into difficulty in the water very quickly which is why more than 400 people accidently drown in the UK and Ireland every year and many more have non-fatal experiences sometimes suffering life changing injuries.
As a qualified swimming teacher, health and safety is always at the forefront of my mind when around water.
But as a parent, I understand how easy it is to become distracted. On one particular occasion, I was at the pool with family friends and turned my head momentarily to sort out goggles. Before I knew it, my then 3-year-old daughter, Esme, followed an older and much stronger swimmer into the water. She had no buoyancy aid and went under the water as she left the steps. I quickly jumped in to help her to the side and she was absolutely fine. But the experience left me very shaken with a very clear understanding of how quickly and silently someone can get into trouble.
Drowning prevention starts at home
It is vital that children learn to swim and are taught about water safety from an early age, but drowning prevention starts at home. It is a fact that people can drown in just 2cm of water.
With toddlers and small children around, there are many everyday activities that become potential hazards such as baths, wash basins, fishponds, paddling pools, hot tubs and buckets.
Make sure anything containing water in your home is emptied after use and that your children are always supervised.
Learn how to be safe both in the pool and in open water
At Angelfish, we make sure our swimmers know and understand the pool rules, we make sure they know where the deep end is, where the steps are and that they must always enter the water at the shallow end. And of course, they are taught and supervised by highly trained, experienced teachers.
However, learning how to swim and be safe in a warm, indoor pool is not a guarantee of safety in open water.
Remember the Water Safety Code when around open water
I have taken the following information from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents website which has lots of advice on water safety, whether you are at home or on holiday, at inland waters or the beach.
Stop and think – spot the dangers
– Rivers, lakes and the sea look beautiful, inviting and fun, but they are also very dangerous.
– The water can be cold.
– There may be hidden currents.
– It can be difficult to get out.
– It can be deep and difficult to estimate depth.
– There may be hidden rubbish or debris, such as logs, shopping trollies and broken glass.
– There may not be lifeguards on duty.
– The water quality may be poor or even polluted and make you ill.
– Children should never go near the water without an adult.
– An adult can spot the dangers and help if somebody gets into trouble.
– It is always better to go to the water with a friend or family member, even if you are a strong and experienced swimmer.
– If you fall into the water unexpectedly – float until you can control your breathing. Then call for help or swim to safety.
Call for help
– If you see someone in difficulty, tell someone, preferably a Lifeguard if there is one nearby or call 999. Ask for the Fire Service at inland water sites and the Coastguard at the beach.
Have a fantastic time enjoying the water safely this summer!
Angelfish Swimmers, developing water confidence and beautiful swimming technique in a supportive and fun environment.Tags: Drowning prevention, Swimming, Water safety