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Camulos Academy

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Water Safety Tips

Water Safety

Drowning happens silently. A drowning child can’t speak or control their arms. It’s only in the movies they splash about and cry for help. 

 

Baths

At home, younger children are most likely to drown in the bath or garden pond. There may be no warning that something is wrong, as babies drown silently in as little as 5 cm of water.

 

  • Bath seats are great for supporting your baby in the bath but they’re not safety aids – a baby shouldn’t be left alone in one even for a moment as they can slip out
  • Get everything you need ready before bath time because you’ll need to stay with your baby or young child all the time they’re in the bath
  • Don’t rely on your toddler to keep an eye on the baby while you pop out for a towel, as they’re still too young to understand danger.

 

 

Paddling Pools and Ponds

 

  • Empty the paddling pool out after you’ve used it
  • Turn a pond into a sandpit, or fence it in or cover it while your children are little
  • Make sure your child can’t get to the neighbour’s pond
  • Be alert to ponds or pools when visiting other people’s homes.

 

 

Boundaries and Fencing

Residential swimming pools should have boundaries or fencing which:

• Should be at least 1.2meters high

• Should not be accessible from underneath – children can squeeze through very small gaps!

• Should remain closed and not be propped open, with self-closing and self-latching gates

• Should not be accessible to unaccompanied children

Drain paddling pools when not in use and cover hot tubs and garden ponds securely if fencing isn’t an option.

 


Think neighbour! Make sure your garden fences are secure so toddling feet can’t wander into a neighbouring garden, which may have a pond or pool.

Keeping pools, ponds and tubs secured is crucial but there are other precautions you can take to keep your children safe around water.

  • Slipping on wet surfaces by the pool is just as dangerous as the water itself so teach children to walk not run.
  • Keep swimming pool areas free from tripping hazards.
  • Always remain vigilant – drowning can be silent and happen very quickly.
  • It’s never too early to learn to swim – even if they can’t walk getting babies and toddlers used to water is a good first step.
  • When not in use, keep your pool clear of toys that could attract a child’s attention.

 

 

Water Safety for Older Children

As children become older and possibly stronger swimmers, it’s important to educate  them about water safety. They may still lack the strength and skills to get themselves out of trouble if they find themselves in strong currents or deep water, or discover too late dangerous objects lurking in the water.

 

  • Teach older children to choose safe places to swim like public pools and beaches with lifeguards
  • Explain the dangers of swimming in open water, including strong currents, deep, cold water and things under the surface they can’t see.

 

At the beach:

  • Teach children to swim between the red and yellow flags – these mark the areas patrolled by lifeguards
  • Inflatables can be swept out to sea when the wind is blowing – keep children off inflatables when the orange windsock is flying and always keep an eye on them.

 


Lakes, rivers and locks
Swimming in an open body of water like a river, lake, or lock is different from swimming in a pool. There may be hidden dangers beneath the water that you don’t know about.


Buddy up - Always swim with a partner. Even experienced swimmers can become tired or get muscle cramps, which might make it difficult to get out of the water. When people swim together, they can help each other or go for help in case of an emergency.


Know your limits - If you're not a good swimmer or you're just learning to swim, don't go in water that's so deep you can't touch the bottom and don't try to keep up with skilled swimmers. If your mates are daring you to go further than you’re comfortable with, or capable of, it can be hard to say no, but it's a pretty sure bet they'd rather have you safe and alive.
If you are a good swimmer and have had lessons, keep an eye on friends who aren't as comfortable or as skilled as you are. If it seems like they (or you) are getting tired or a little uneasy, suggest that you take a break from swimming for a while.


By the sea
Swimming in an open body of water, like the sea is different from swimming in a pool. More energy is needed to handle the currents and other changing conditions in the open water.


If you do find yourself caught in a current, don't panic and don't fight the current. Try to swim parallel to the shore until you are able to get out of the current, which is usually a narrow channel of water. Gradually try to make your way back to shore as you do so. If you're unable to swim away from the current, stay calm and float with the current. The current will usually slow down, then you can swim to shore.

 

More information on water safety by the sea can be found on the RNLI Respect the Water webpages.

 


Tombstoning
Tombstoning offers a high-risk, high-impact experience that can have severe and life-threatening consequences. This is because:

  • Water depths alter with the tide – the water may be shallower than it seems
  • Submerged objects like rocks may not be visible – these can cause serious impact injuries
  • The shock of cold water can make it difficult to swim
  • Getting out of the water is often more difficult than people realise
  • Strong currents can rapidly sweep people away

 

Don't jump into the unknown. Consider the dangers before you take the plunge:

  • Check for hazards in the water. Rocks or other objects may be submerged and difficult to see
  • Check the depth of the water. Remember tides can rise and fall very quickly
  • As a rule of thumb, a jump of ten metres requires a depth of at least five metres
  • Never jump whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Check for access. It may be impossible to get out of the water
  • Consider the risks to yourself and others. Conditions can change rapidly – young people could be watching and may attempt to mimic the activity. And, if you jump when you feel unsafe or pressured, you probably won't enjoy the experience.

 

More information on tombstoning can be found on the RoSPA website.

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