What NOT to do if your child is drowning

As it’s Drowning Prevention Week, Becky Adlington's SwimStars are highlighting the importance of teaching your child to swim. But what should we do or avoid doing if our little ones ever find themselves in danger?

With Summer holidays now the norm for many families around the UK each year, it’s becoming increasingly important for our kids to learn how to swim and be safe in the water.

Last year, 300 people lost their lives in accidental drownings in the UK, along with 24 British youngsters - many while enjoying their Summer holidays. It takes only a few inches of water and only a few minutes submerged in water to drown. Even with basic swimming skills, those few minutes could mean the difference between a child drowning and a child being able to keep themselves afloat to call for help.

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, David Walker, leisure safety manager at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, discussed how we can keep our children safe around water and what we should NEVER do if they get into trouble. He said the one error we should never make if our child is drowning is to get in the water with them. Although many would instinctively dive in after their loved ones, he says it can make the situation worse if you then get into trouble yourself.

Experts say we should do a ‘dry rescue’ when possible, staying on land and getting professional help from a lifeguard or throwing in floats to help. You can use belts, rescue equipment of long implements to extend your reach and get to the child. David said,
“The best practice on the whole is staying safe but in this situation, staying dry is the best thing you can do.”

David also discussed the importance of children attending swimming lessons before going on holiday, saying, 
“Get swimming and water safety lessons so kids have some understanding of what to do in water. You should not assume they are drown proof. Book lessons as soon as the holiday [is booked] and use it as a reward or part of the build up to the holiday."

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