Staying safe in the water this summer

Published

Public Health Suffolk is warning parents of the risks and advises that young children should be supervised at all times.

With the weather getting warmer, many of us may be looking to enjoy the sunshine by bringing out inflatable paddling pools. However, there are risks present for young children when they are around water at home, for example inflatable pools, home pools, ponds and water features. 

The Child Accident and Prevention Trust (CAPT) and The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) state that drownings can be silent and can occur in as little as three centimetres of water.

They have issued guidance to parents for keeping young children safe around water in the home or garden.

While small children are playing in inflatable or home pools, parents should always provide supervision, and young children should not be trusted to supervise younger children as they may be too young to recognise danger.

It is also recommended that paddling pools are emptied when not in use and ponds are enclosed by fences or covered by grilles while children are young. Parents should remain alert to ponds and pools when visiting other people’s homes.

Cllr James Reeder, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Prevention, said:

"Young children can be fascinated by water, and swimming is great for a child's health and fitness. It is however important to stay vigilant, and always supervise young children when they are in or near water.

“I urge parents to follow these simple steps so that children can enjoy the summer safely."

Water safety is one of a number of aspects to consider in the home and when out and about to keep babies and young children safe, such as avoiding accidental falls, safe sleeping for babies and parents keeping themselves well and calm when the demands escalate. Further home safety advice can be found at https://www.healthysuffolk.org.uk/projects/child-friendly

Suffolk Trading Standards has also provided the following advice to consumers of paddling pools and buoyancy equipment:

  • It is very important to make sure you read all the warnings on paddling pools and inflatables to ensure they are suitable for your child.
  • Water toys such as inflatables must state: ‘Warning: only to be used in water in which the child is within its depth and under supervision’.
  • Armbands and buoyant swim jackets are helpful to give children confidence whilst learning to swim, however you should ensure your child is wearing the correct size to provide the necessary level of buoyancy.
  • Rubber rings and inflatables are only suitable for children that already have some swimming ability. Be wary of allowing very young children to use these toys, and ensure you provide constant supervision.