Are your Water Babies Little Life Savers?
Are your Water Babies little lifesavers?
There's nothing quite as fun as a family splash about, whether at the pool or beach. But new research has revealed that millions of children are at risk due to a lack of water safety awareness and swimming skills.
Water Babies, the UK's leading baby swim school, commissioned a research study of 2,000 families' swimming habits. The results revealed that more than half of the parents surveyed said that they wouldn't feel confident their child could save themselves if they got into trouble in the water, and 44% admitted that they themselves wouldn't feel confident in their own swimming skills to rescue their child. In fact, 16% of parents confessed they couldn't even swim at all.
75% of parents surveyed were totally unaware drowning is the third highest cause of accidental death in children. This is particularly worrying as around 60 children drown in the UK every summer and 75 UK citizens drown on holiday abroad each year.
Paul Thompson, Water Babies co-founder, says: "It's vital to encourage children to respect water from as early an age as possible. Our research showed that the average age children start swimming lessons is four years old and 40% of children haven't had a lesson by the age of 12. But swimming lessons can actually can take place from birth, in fact, our youngest pupil was only two days old.
"It's tragic that drowning is still the third highest cause of accidental death for UK children. In most cases it's the shock of sudden submersion that causes children to panic. We believe that by introducing children to the water as early as possible, they are less likely to experience fear if they do fall in.
"With progressive training, babies can be taught lifesaving skills such as following sudden submersion, swimming to the nearest solid object & holding on. Over the last few years a dozen of our pupils have saved themselves from drowning, some of whom were just two years old."
FIVE QUICK TIPS FOR PARENTS
Actively supervise young children around water
If leaving, even for a moment, take your child with you or designate a known adult to supervise. Make sure that the person supervising can swim themselves and will happily jump into the water to rescue a struggling child. Don't ask older siblings to watch younger children - they're not trained or mature enough to be given such a responsibility.
Be safety conscious at the poolside
Save the local emergency numbers on your mobile phone on the first day of your holiday and make sure your whole family knows where the rescue equipment and lifeguards are based.
Flotation devices are not life preservers
Toys and inflatables are often unstable and can be a hazard without adequate supervision. They are never a replacement for adult supervision.
Do not swim at beaches with large waves, a powerful undertow or no lifeguards
Find out where the lifeguards are and learn water symbols and flags indicating current beach conditions. Follow their advice.
Drinking can impair your supervision and swimming skills - especially when combined with the mid-day heat.
Water Babies classes are available in Brierley Hill, Wolverhampton, Penkridge & Cannock. For more information, please phone Heidi Hunter-Cope and her friendly team on 01694731407, email Wibblewobble@waterbabies.co.uk or visit www.waterbabies.co.uk.
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