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Staying Safe in the Water: Why It’s So Important

Every family needs to be aware of a forthcoming water safety campaign. Drowning Prevention Week (DPW) runs from June 15th until 22nd.

The dates coincide with the approaching summer break when children spend more time outdoors and may be at greater risk of getting into difficulties in the sea, pools, rivers, lakes or even at home.

Read on as we dive into the safety tips you need to stay safe this summer and beyond.

A New Approach to Water Safety

A recent report commissioned by the Royal Life Saving Society UK found a steep increase in child drownings in England. One child’s death from drowning is one too many, with the impact on bereaved families devastating.

​​The report concluded that the current approach to swimming and water safety education needs reforming and revising.

Safety Tips

Safety starts at home. Young children should never have a bath or shower without telling their parents first. If you have a paddling pool, kids should never play alone in it. You should also ensure garden gates remain closed to prevent other children from wandering in.

Keep children away from the edge of ponds. Cover pools and hot tubs when not in use.

No matter how strong a swimmer you are, you must always take precautions. Only ever swim in lifeguarded lakes. You must read safety signs at the entrance of a beach and learn the meaning of lifeguard flags. Almost three-quarters of accidents happen when there is absence of professional supervision.

Enter the sea slowly and stay within reach, close to the shore. You should also check if the tide is coming in or out to ensure there is no risk of becoming cut off.

All these safety tips apply to everyone, but the risks become far greater if a child cannot swim. One of the biggest favours you can do for a child is to ensure they learn how to swim from the earliest age possible.

The Benefits of Swimming

Swimming is fun and an excellent way to keep fit, but, most importantly, it is the only sport that can save your child’s life. There’s a whole host of health benefits packed into swimming that can help keep your kids happy and healthy. Here are a few of them:

  • Maintaining a healthy heart and lungs
  • Boosting strength, stamina and flexibility
  • Improving posture and balance

Swimming is open to children of any age and ability, and it is more accessible than any other sport to those with additional needs. Swimming offers less obvious benefits such as:

  • Gaining more self-confidence and self-belief
  • Providing opportunities for new rewarding challenges
  • Offering the chance to make friends and join clubs

Swimming opens doors to a whole host of other sports that are only available to swimmers. These include canoeing, kayaking, surfing, scuba diving and yachting.

Swimming is also a low-impact cardiovascular sport. If we run on hard surfaces, our knees can quickly wear down. When we undertake strenuous exercise in a pool, lake or the sea, the water supports our joints, giving us the health benefits of a cardio workout with far less risk of injury.

More Relaxing Holidays

Time out is invaluable, whether a staycation or an exciting trip overseas. It recharges the batteries, helps families bond, and, for kids especially, it’s the chance for a little bit of freedom.

Ask most children what their priority is for an ideal holiday, and some form of water will likely top the list. They may, for example, want to stay at a camping site with a fun-packed pool with slides.

Not allowing children to learn to swim deprives them of these kinds of opportunities. Even with lifeguards on site, parents also experience the added stress of having to keep an eye on their children’s every move.

You’re Never Too Old to Make a Splash!

We provide lessons that follow Swim England’s Adult Swimming Framework. We share one of the charity’s mantras: “We want to get the nation swimming!” Once learned, swimming rarely gets forgotten.

Pool activities such as swimming and aqua aerobics are excellent fitness options for adults of all ages. As we head into our later years, our joints will deteriorate. Swimming in your local pool will keep you fit but reduce the impact on knees, ankles and wrists.

Conquering a Fear of Swimming

Swim England found that up to one in three adults couldn’t swim. One of the most frequent reasons people cite for not learning to swim is an underlying fear of water.

Given we are land creatures, that fear is not irrational. However, some people may have developed a condition known as aquaphobia, perhaps due to a distressing past experience. Either way, there are ways to overcome a fear of water. What matters is you take things at your pace. This might include:

  • Starting in a pool where the water is shallow and at an off-peak time
  • Working with an instructor who understands why you are afraid
  • Wearing goggles

There is no right or wrong way to learn to swim, especially if you are afraid of water. You may, for example, begin simply by sitting at the side of the pool and dangling your feet in the water.

You could then move on to cupping pool water in your hand and splashing your face gently. Eventually, with the right support, you might walk up and down a ladder into the water and so on, taking the time you need at every stage.

The Benefits of Adult Swimming

Adult swimming clubs are a great opportunity to meet and interact with others. This can help fend off loneliness and improve our physical and mental well-being. Swimming pools are excellent places for those with long-term health conditions, including dementia.

We know of plenty of adults who have come to swim later in life and have never looked back. They now participate in many other activities, such as sailing and paddle boarding. Some have even become superb swimming instructors, driven by the high value they’ve derived from the sport.

Take the Plunge and Learn to Swim!

If you know of a child or adult who’s considering learning to swim, please get in touch today!