IT’S meant to be a scorcher this weekend and what better way to get relief some from the heat than to bring out a paddling pool.
It can be lots of fun for kids to splash around in – and it can help them stay cool as temperatures rise.
But water safety experts have issued a warning to parents, urging them not to leave them little ones alone by the water even for a few minutes.
Lee Heard, Charity Director at Royal Lifesaving Society UK (RLSS) told The Sun: “With the imminent heatwave warning affecting parts of the UK this weekend, we know we’ll see lots of families either heading to the water or enjoying water at home with paddling pools and swimming pools in the garden.”
But he reminded that water safety is paramount in this hot weather.
You might not think it, but a child’s life could be endangered in a matter of minutes.
Lee said: “Sadly drowning can happen very quickly, so it’s vital to ensure that you do not leave your child alone when they are in or near water.
“In order to ensure your child’s safety when they are in or around water, never leave them unsupervised,” he stressed.
Water safety is still an issue once your tots’ swimming time is over.
It might seem easier to leave the paddling pool full in case your kid fancies another dip later, or it might just slip your mind to empty the pool.
But Lee advised that “as soon as you are finished with the paddling pool, or any other water container, it should be emptied and turned upside down.
“This means that water, from a rain shower for example, cannot collate in the paddling pool if it is left upright and become a potential hazard,” explained.
Just a few inches of water can be deadly and drowning is one of the most common causes of accidental death in children.
According to Lee, 26 children aged 14 and under lost their life to accidental drowning in the UK in 2022.
“We want to ensure that no more families have to experience the sudden and devastating loss to drowning,” he said.
“Starting from 17 June until 24 June, we will be running our annual Drowning Prevention Week campaign and we have lots of fantastic free resources for families available on our website to help start the conversation about water safety with your children,” Lee added.
GP Dr Sarah Jarvis emphasised that’s important you also keep your paddling pool in the shade, to make sure your tots don’t spend too long under the sun’s hot rays.
Hannah Smith, director of aquatics at kids’ swimming school Water Babies, previously shared some tips The Sun for families using pools over the summer.
“If you are abroad, make sure you know the emergency number and it is always advisable to have a first aid kit with you.”
Hannah said water should be a minimum of 30C, or if your baby is under 12 weeks or 12 pounds it should be even higher at 32C.
She said you should always be aware if there is a lifeguard present, where the deep end is and if there are any slippery or cracked surfaces.
The swimming expert recommended having a designated adult to watch kids, even if there is a lifeguard present, and non-swimmers should be within an arm’s length away.
Advice for parents from The RLSS Drowning Prevention Society
To keep your kids safe…
- Always lock gates and fences to stop kids from gaining access to water.
- Securely cover all water tanks and drains.
- Empty paddling pools and buckets straight after use, and turn them upside down.
- Always supervise bath time, and empty the bath immediately afterwards.
- Check the safety arrangements before going on holiday – is there a lifeguard at the beach?
- Check bathing sites for hazards, and always read the signs.
- Always swim with your kids, and beware of dangerous rip currents in the sea.
- Never use lilos and dinghies in open water – there are drownings every year where people are dragged out to sea.
- Don’t swim near rocks, piers, breakwater or coral.
- Swim parallel to the beach, and close to the shore.