Accidental drowning causes more than 400 UK deaths every year, is the third highest cause of death in children and claims the lives of at least 360,000 people worldwide each year.
The Royal Life Saving Society’s (RLSS) Drowning Prevention Week (20th – 28th June 2015) raises awareness and encourages everyone to have an active role in having fun whilst being safe around and near water.
Can you really drown in 2cm of water?
A lot of people presume there is only one type of drowning (ie: water fills your lungs) but there are in fact many different types. When I was training as a lifeguard I remember the trainer telling us that you can drown in an egg cup size of water…….an egg cup, really??? During cases of secondary drowning, only a small amount of water is actually present in the casualties lungs. This small amount of water is still enough to make the lungs no longer able to deliver the much needed oxygen to the bloodstream. The scary thing about secondary drowning is that a child or adult only needs to inhale a small amount of water or be immersed in water for a short amount of time, otherwise know as a near-drowning incident. The life threatening affects of secondary drowning can take anything from 1 hour – 72 hours to show after the near-drowning incident.
If a child or adult does have a near drowning incident or inhales a worrying amount of water, look out for the following signs and symptoms:
- Trouble Breathing
- Chest Pain
- Sudden changes in behavior
- Extreme fatigue
If you notice any of these signs and symptoms call 999 / 112 immediately!! The Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) has organised Drowning Prevention Week to make everyone more aware of the risks of being in and around water. They have produced some great resources for parents, teachers and children!
Learn the S.A.F.E code
The S.A.F.E code was designed primarily for children but we think everyone should know it!!!!!
Spot the dangers – There may be hidden objects beneath the water, loose ground by the waters edge or the water may be deeper / shallower than you think.
Advice – Always swim near a lifeguard, read the signs and if you are going to the beach, learn what the different flags mean
Friend – Never swim on your own and always tell someone where you are going
Emergency – If you can see someone in trouble shout as loud as you can, tell a lifeguard or call 999 / 112. NEVER go after someone
Resources for parents and families
There are a huge amount of resources on the Drowning Prevention website so we have done the research for you and have included some quick links:
- Water safety advise whist at home
- Water safety advise whilst around open water
- Water safety advise whilst on holiday
- Water safety advise whilst at the swimming pool
- Water safety advise whilst at the beach
Resources for schools and school aged children
There are some great resources to help schools raise awareness from lesson plans and assembly presentations to water based activities and games……and they all meet National Curriculum Standards.
- Information for Primary School aged children as well as a great iPhone app
- Information for Secondary School aged children
If you would like to raise money whilst raising awareness of water safety you can download fundraising resources here and if you have been affected by drowning the RLSS has a great counselling service offering help and advice for all the family.