The UK’s drowning prevention charity has issued a warning as children break up from school and people look forward to the Easter bank holiday.

The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) is urging people to stay safe as many enjoy activities during their time off that involve being in or around water.

Around 400 people drown in the UK each year, and holiday times, particularly the first major break of the year, mean more people are out and about and may put themselves or others at risk if they avoid safety advice.

RLSS UK Director of Lifesaving, Adrian Lole, said: “We want as many people as possible to enjoy activities in and around water during their holidays. But we want them to do so safely by taking our simple advice and using their common sense.

“Ensuring you and your family are clear on water safety and steps to take to keep everyone safe in and around water could mean the difference between a happy Easter holiday and a devastating family tragedy.

“Whether it’s a picnic by the river, trip to the beach or day out with your mates, please take care and stay safe – we would hate to hear of any tragic, and avoidable, drownings taking place this holiday.”

Top Water Safety Tips This Easter:

  • Do not allow your child to use a paddling pool without adult supervision and ensure they are empty and turned over when finished with for the day
  • Check the garden for anything that has c collected water, like buckets and wheelbarrows
  • Supervise children closely when in parks or other places that might have a river, pond or lake
  • Ensure all members of your family know to wave and shout help if they get into difficulty and practise treading water when at your local pool
  • Take extra care on river banks, they are often slippery and can crumble and beware of locks and weirs where water flows quickly
  • Take notice of warning signs
  • Never swim alone
  • If swimming in open water, be aware of underwater hazards, currents, uneven depths and water temperatures – all of these could pose a threat to swimmers – always swim at designated, lifeguarded sites
  • When around water, stay back from the edge. At least 22 per cent of people who drown fall into the water by accident, for example when fishing, running or walking
  • Also, be aware that more people drown in inland waters than coastal or at sea.

In addition to the above tips, ensure you and your family know the SAFE code –

Spot – spot the dangers
Advice – follow safety signs and advice
Friend – stay close to a friend or family member
Emergency – shout for help and call 999 or 112

If someone is in difficulty in the water –

  • Shout reassurance to them and shout for help and ensure the emergency services are on their way (call 999 or 112)
  • Without endangering yourself, see if you can reach out to them, extend your reach with a stick, pole, item of clothing, lie down or stay secure. Alternatively throw something buoyant to them such as a ring buoy, part filled plastic container, ball or anything that will float.
  • Keep your eye on them all the time and shout reassurance urging them to propel themselves to safety