Keep cool... but stay safe

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WITH some warmer weather forecast for August, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) is issuing advice about how to stay safe in and around water.

Traditionally, the number of accidental drownings peaks during spells of warm weather, particularly when the warm conditions coincide with weekends, school holidays and national celebrations.

RoSPA’s advice particularly covers inland waters, such as rivers, lakes, lochs, quarries and reservoirs, which are the most common locations for accidental drownings throughout the year. Figures from the National Water Safety Forum show that in 2010, 420 people died from accidents or natural causes in water across the UK, and, of these, more than half (217) died as a result of incidents in inland waters.

RoSPA believes that leisure should be “as safe as necessary, not as safe as possible”, and the accident prevention charity is keen that families get out and about to enjoy the outdoors during the summer. To enable them to have fun and stay safe, RoSPA has put together the following water safety tips:

l Swimming at properly-supervised sites, such as beaches, lidos or swimming pools, is best, although RoSPA appreciates that not everyone can go to these locations

l If you choose to go to an unsupervised site, think through the hazards first and ensure you know what to do if something goes wrong

l Among the hazards to consider are that water can be a lot colder than you are expecting so be careful if you jump in or go for a swim to cool off. Also, there may be strong currents and underwater debris that you cannot see from the bank

l Before you get into the water, consider how you are going to get out again

l Be honest about your swimming ability

l Remember that alcohol and swimming never mix

l Parents and carers: discuss the hazards with your children and remind them that children should never swim alone at unsupervised locations.

For more safety tips and advice about rescuing someone who gets into difficulty in water, see RoSPA’s Water Safety for Children and Young People factsheet online at: www.rospa.com