Water safety during summer

05 May 2016

We’re approaching the time of year when we all like to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. Whether it’s going for a walk, playing in the parks or encouraging our children to get outside and burn off some energy.

Unfortunately, there are risks, one of the biggest being the hazards presented by water to our young children. According to ROSPA, more than 400 people die from drowning as a result of an accident in or around water annually in the UK.

While we are not suggesting that you avoid these activities (or that you avoid fun as a whole!), we want to remind you to be aware of the hazards of playing around water, especially for children. We’ve put together our top tips and advice to allow you to put simple control measures into place, to ensure everyone enjoys themselves and goes home safely.

Open water can come in the form of:

Ponds, water features, quarries, canals, streams, rivers, lakes, within buildings which have standing water/fish tanks and of course baths and jacuzzis.

Be aware of the following:

  • Rivers can look calm and warm on the surface but there can be strong undercurrents and the water can be icy cold
  • Cold water can quickly affect stamina and strength
  • Water can hide a myriad of hazards underneath from natural features (like rocks and plants), to items thrown in (shopping trolleys etc) and other man made hazards such as sluices which are often unseen and can trap a person
  • Some areas of open water can be difficult to get out of with steep sides etc.
  • You don’t always know the depth of the water, there can often be steep drops off ledges, especially in quarries
  • The water can contain natural and man-made toxins
  • Encourage people to learn to swim (especially young children)

Consider putting the following controls in place:

  • Place guards over small ponds/water features to prevent small children falling into them
  • Use of fences on larger areas of open water (we recommend 2m high and anti-climb)
  • Signage warning of any water – regularly check they are legible
  • Provide life rings if water is deep or of a large area
  • Provide advice to parents and guardians when they visit the facilities or sign-in that there are areas of open water and please keep children and others who may wander off under close control
  • Encourage people to learn to swim (especially young children)
  • Do not let children swim in unsupervised areas
  • With baths and jacuzzis, provide adequate supervision at all times
  • Contact us for more information on this or any other Health & Safety issue

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