Young children can be fascinated by water, and swimming is great for a child's health and fitness. Here are some tips to make sure that their time in the water is fun and safe.

Drowning prevention – what you need to know

  1. Children should be supervised in the water at all times. Don’t rely on older children to supervise.
  2. It’s not just young children who are at risk. Older children and teens can get into trouble, especially while ‘wild’ swimming. Strong currents, deep water and objects lurking under the water are unlikely to be obvious.
  3. Don’t assume that because a child can swim, they will be safe. 
  4. Drowning happens silently. As drowning occurs, the instinctive drowning response means that a child is unable to speak or to control their arm movements, and they slip quietly under the water – it’s a myth that they splash about, shout or scream. 
  5. Don’t rely on lifeguards – provision, training and legislation varies in different countries, and lifeguards may have other duties.
  6. Even if you’ve taken steps to make your garden or environment safe, children have drowned after wandering into neighbouring gardens. Be mindful of this at home and on holiday.
  7. RoSPA research shows the most common times for children to drown on holiday are the first and the last days – don’t let your guard down at any time.
  8. Empty paddling pools when they’re not in use. 
  9. At the beach, wind blowing off the land can make the sea look flat, calm and safe but it can easily sweep inflatables quickly out to sea, and children will be tempted to go after them.
  10. Finally, expect children to do unexpected things. They can’t be relied on to keep themselves safe, even if they say they can!