Research carried out by a charity, the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS UK), shows that only one in four parents in the UK have not or do not remember ever discussing water safety with their child(ren).

RLSS UK will be running its annual Drowning Prevention Week campaign, starting on 17 June and running for one week until 24 June. The campaign is now in its tenth year and the charity is hoping to engage even more families than ever to ensure all children have the vital lifesaving skills and knowledge to allow them to enjoy water safely.

For Drowning Prevention Week this year the charity has created an animation which focuses on the Water Safety Code. The code consists of four key points to help people stay safe when in and around water and also what to do in an emergency.

The charity’s research also showed that 86% of UK adults are unfamiliar with the Water Safety Code, and only 2% of UK adults can recall the Water Safety Code in full; this is something the charity is hoping to change as part of their Drowning Prevention Week campaign.

RLSS UK provides free water safety advice for families and schools in a bid to give every child the opportunity to learn about water safety. Currently, the charity is also supporting the Water Safety (Curriculum) Bill, which recently received its second reading in the House of Lords and requires the Secretary of State to include water safety and training in prevention of drowning as a compulsory part of the curriculum for all schools in England.

Lee Heard, Charity Director at RLSS UK, said “It is vital that all of our children learn about water safety. Currently not all children are receiving this education in school, which is why we are lobbying the Government to support the Water Safety (Curriculum) Bill to give all children the opportunity to learn about water safety in the classroom, and allow them to enjoy water safely. Water safety education will save children’s lives.

“As many children are not receiving water safety education in schools, the responsibility currently falls to parents, however, we know that not all adults are familiar with water safety education so we cannot expect them to teach their children without providing them with knowledge and resources to do so.

“We have been offering free resources for schools and families for many years; it’s great to learn that three quarters of UK parents have discussed water safety with their children and we want to continue to provide these resources so parents have confidence in the information they are giving to their children about water safety.”

There are four parts to the Water Safety Code that the Royal Life Saving Society UK is encouraging parents to discuss with their children. Stop and think, stay together, call 999, and float.

The charity’s research shows that 96% of UK adults cannot recall any messages from the Water Safety Code and only 2% of UK adults can recall the code in full.

Lee added “It is vital that families have a good understanding of the Water Safety Code as a minimum and from our research we have seen that only a third of UK adults looked for water safety signs and advice, and less than half stayed with others the last time they were in, on or around water. We also know that one in four adults would enter the water to try and help a stranger who has fallen in, is having difficulty and might drown when the advice would always be to not enter the water to rescue anyone or anything.

“Our research also shows that one in four parents of children aged eight and over in the UK are confident that their child could self-rescue from open water. We want to ensure that all children know the four parts of the water safety code so they can stay safe in and around water and know what to do if they find themselves in difficulty.

“This Drowning Prevention Week we are encouraging all parents to show their children the Water Safety Code video we have produced to start the much needed conversations around water safety. We also want parents to visit our website to use our range of free resources so they can be confident their children have the right skills and knowledge.”

Drowning Prevention Week 2023 runs from Saturday 17 June to Saturday 24 June and the new animation will be launched on Saturday 17 June.

Find out more about Drowning Prevention Week