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An event at Westminster last month, 21 June, saw the launch of the inaugural National Drowning Report from the Water Safety All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) authored by the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), and supported by the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF).

The report highlighted some shocking statistics relating to the number of accidental fatalities in 2022, with a section of the report focusing on child drownings.

The report showed that in 2022, 35 children died from accidental drowning, the equivalent of more than a classroom of children. Comparing this to the 5-year average, there was a huge 46% increase in the number of accidental fatalities amongst children in 2022.

The report documents that in 2022, 226 people lost their lives to accidental drowning, with 83% of those being male.

We have already seen a number of people tragically lose their lives to accidental drowning in 2023 and the report looks to provide recommendations for the UK Government to how this can change.

Lee Heard, Charity Director at RLSS UK, commented “We know that for anyone to drown is a complete tragedy, but when we see the amount of children drowning increasing by 46% we know that things need to change urgently.

“Within the report, we have worked with various organisations to put forwards a number of key recommendations for the UK Government to enable all young people to have the opportunity to learn about water safety.

“We want the UK Government to find innovative solutions to better deliver school swimming; mandate that every child has a class-based water safety lesson at each key stage; and to invest in initiatives to address the increase in child drowning fatalities.

“Drowning, for the large part, is highly preventable. Education and supervision in particular reduce the likelihood of an incident turning into a sudden and devastating tragedy. We have been asking the question of the UK Government for many years as to why classroom-based water safety is not on the curriculum. We recognise that getting all our children in the water is critical but teaching water safety in the classroom removes existing barriers and gives every child an understanding of safety, risk, and the chance to learn how to stay safe in and around the water, no matter their background.

“This report is a step in the right direction to give MPs and the UK Government the facts and statistics they need to make a change to prevent losing even more children to accidental drowning. We at RLSS UK will work with our partners and the National Water Safety Forum to endeavor to deliver the necessary change.”

The launch of the report coincided with RLSS UK’s annual Drowning Prevention Week campaign where the charity was able to educate over 1.8million children through its free resources to schools and leisure centres.

View the report