The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), have launched a brand-new animation to encourage children to get learn more about water safety as part of their national Drowning Prevention Week campaign.

Over 400 people die each year in the UK and Ireland from accidental drowning.

In a recent survey, only 30% of parents surveyed said they are ‘very confident’ that their child knows how to stay safe in and around water, which leaves a lot of parents less confident that their child would know how to stay safe around water. As well as this the survey showed that of those surveyed only one in five children have had any formal water safety education at school in the last year, showing that there is a gap to be filled for children when it comes to understanding water safety.

Even for parents of children who can swim, there is still much to be done, as research conducted by RLSS UK shows that despite 88% of parents whose children have swimming lessons being confident their child knows how to stay safe in and around water, the statistics show there is still a concern for swimmers. In RLSS UK’s analysis of 76 accidental drownings of 8-18 year-olds in the UK, 61% were described as swimmers.

Lee Heard, Charity Director at RLSS UK said: “With June, July, and August proving to be the months with the most fatalities, it is vitally important that everyone has an understanding of water safety, especially during the summer months, and we believe it is never too early to start learning about water safety.

“We have seen a rise in the number of drownings over the last few years, with peaks during the summer. In July 2021, there were 49 accidental drowning fatalities in the space of just two weeks in the UK, and we know that with the right water safety knowledge, accidental drownings are avoidable. With this in mind, for Drowning Prevention Week this year, we have launched a brand new animation which is freely available on our website to give parents the opportunity to engage their children in learning about water safety in a fun way.

“We would love to share this animation as far as possible and in turn education as many children as possible about water safety.

“We want to ensure that everyone can enjoy their summer break and enjoy being in or around water but be safe in the knowledge that they, and their children, have the skills and understanding about water safety, which could potentially save a life. Every life is worth saving.”

As well as the animation, The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) has a range of free educational resources available on their website for children, young people and parents all of which are available as part of Drowning Prevention Week. The campaign takes place between 18th-25th June and aims to equip everyone across the UK and Ireland with the skills and knowledge to make the right decisions about water safety.

Lee Heard continued: “This year for Drowning Prevention Week we are aiming to educate more young people than ever about water safety and give children the skills to enjoy a lifetime of fun in the water. In a recent survey conducted by RLSS UK we found that around two-thirds of UK adults have never had any formal water safety education or training, and therefore this raises the question, how can we teach our children about the topic if we, as parents, are unsure ourselves?

“To overcome this problem, we have a range of free educational resources available on the RLSS UK website, including lesson plans for schools and resources for parents.

“Drowning Prevention Week brings the focus of water safety to people’s minds, giving everyone the opportunity to be equipped with the appropriate skills and knowledge to be summer ready when it comes to being safe in and around water when the warmer weather is here.”

With many families opting for staycations and heading to the coastlines and waterways for holidays in recent times, having an understanding of what to do if you find yourself or someone else in trouble in the water is more important than ever.

Lee Heard added: “If you or someone else finds themselves in difficulty in the water, it’s vital to remember the Water Safety Code: whenever you are around water you should stop and think to assess your surroundings and look for any dangers; stay together when around water and always go with family and friends; in an emergency call 999 and ask for the Fire and Rescue service when inland and the Coastguard if at the coast; and finally float to live, if you fall in or become tired, stay calm, float on your back and call for help, or if you see someone in the water, throw something that floats to them and resist temptation to go in.”

View the animation.

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