It’s summer – keep it safe

Water looks so appealing, especially in hot weather. Children want to splash in it and adults see it as the ultimate cool-down. But, however inviting it looks we can’t forget its risks. Water depths can be deceptive, currents at sea highly changeable and not all water is safe to swim in.

And, unfortunately, going on holiday to unfamiliar surroundings only ups the risk factor. We all want our holidays to be the best days of our lives. But annual figures put out by the Royal Life Saving Society show that more UK children drown in pools on holidays abroad than pools here. Remember, most hotels, villas and beaches don’t have lifeguards so it’s so important to keep your children safe.

Remember getting into difficulty can happen all too quickly. That’s something Angela’s mum knows only too well.

On a quiet family holiday to Puerto Rico, with five foot high waves crashing onto the sand, and red flags warning no swimming, Jean was amazed to see people out at sea. She’d been an international swimmer, competing in the Commonwealth Games in 1970, yet hated the sea. Realising that a teenage boy was getting swept onto the rocks and would likely drown she put her fears behind him, pushed through the icy water, and saved the thirteen year old.

Jean Pendrich - Commonwealth Swimmer - Angela Wilson's mum

Jean Pendrich – Commonwealth Swimmer – Angela’s mum

It’s something her, the boy Derek and his parents will never forget. When the national newspapers heard what Jean had done they called her ‘supergran’!

Whatever your age, the fact is that being a confident and accomplished swimmer is your best way to stay safe in and around water. As a swim school we know that giving children regular lessons is key to this but they can be backed up by following our useful guide to help you and your family stay safe near water.

Jean Pendrich with her swimming awards

A young Jean Pendrich with her swimming awards

Summer safety for you and your family:

  • Keep pools out of bounds until you’re unpacked, relaxed and ready to watch. Never let youngsters alone near water.
  • Always wear armbands These bands of air are your best friend. Helping children float and safely enjoy water, they won’t come off or float away. Pop them in your beach-bag and always wear them near water.
  • Read the signs Plenty of water information is shared at beaches and near open water like lakes and ponds.
  • Respect the flags Lifeguards mark safe sea swimming zones with their red and yellow, two-colour flags. Remember if the red flags are up stay out of the water as it’s not safe.
  • Know your limits Most water accidents happen because people think they can swim better than they actually do.
  • Water is unpredictable even if it looks inviting. Swimming lessons are not just another after-school club but an essential life skill all children should have.
  • Listen up! A single blast from a lifeguard’s whistle means they need to get someone’s attention. Pay attention, it might be you they need to speak to.

Read more about Jean’s amazing sea rescue.

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