We’ve been chatting with Anna from the Royal Life Saving Society UK, in support of Drowning Prevention Week, who's shared their top tips on how to stay water safe!
I love swimming, but I can’t really remember learning to swim. It feels instinctive now, yet swimming is a learned skill. Like many children, my little sister and I were very young when we were taught by our instructor Jerry. Being young was no barrier to learning such an important skill.
As we know, young children don’t always realise when they are safe or in danger. This is especially true of water-related situations. I remember never understanding why we weren’t allowed in the stream at the bottom of my garden, why my parents had fenced it off. I knew how to swim, surely it didn’t matter how deep the water was?
Now it seems obvious, as the water was cold and dirty, the stream deep and there was a surprisingly fast current. But it’s easy to say this retrospectively! This is why it’s so important to teach children and families as a whole how to stay safe, but still have a splashy good time.
I work for the Royal Life Saving Society UK, and sadly every year we hear of drowning incidents that could have been prevented. One person dies every 20 hours in the UK, and drowning is also the third highest cause of accidental death of children in the UK. It’s our goal to cut down the number of drowning and near drowning incidents that happen.
In order to increase awareness, the RLSS started a national campaign called Drowning Prevention Week, which this year runs from the 18th to the 26th of June. The campaign is aimed at children, teaching them vital water safety information for them to take with them into adult life.
Our Drowning Prevention Week campaign also aims to raise money to help develop the charity’s year round drowning prevention work, and we welcome donations and fundraising activity.
It’s an engaging, informative and fun week for everyone, especially the children we teach. The Royal Life Saving Society UK, the drowning prevention charity, wants everyone to have fun in the water. I’m certainly not giving up swimming! But it’s really important to know how to be safe in any type of body of water, which is why I think it is integral our message is heard.
Drowning Prevention Week isn’t just aimed at keen swimmers or vulnerable children though. In the UK, a large majority of those that drown never intended to be in the water, such as those out for a run or walk that accidently fall in.
It’s not unreasonable to believe that if public was truly educated about water and drowning prevention, a large number of these deaths would not happen. For instance, we think if everyone knew our SAFE code, we can reduce the number of preventable, accidental drowning deaths.
There are many ways you can get involved with Drowning Prevention Week, and to educate yourself and your family. Visit the water safety section on our website www.rlss.org.uk for all resources and to find out how you can help.
Water Babies has pledged their support to the campaign, as they too recognise the importance of teaching families how to have fun and stay safe near water. It’s companies like Water Babies that make our job just that bit easier, especially by promoting learning swimming early.
I hope you and your family have a safe and enjoyable summer of swimming!