IT’S scorching outside and all the kids want to do is cool down.
That only means one thing – it’s time for the paddling pool to come out.
While it’s great to watch the kids have fun enjoying themselves in the sun, parents have been warned about the dangers of leaving their pools out unattended.
Even just a few inches of water can be deadly and here, one expert reveals the best way to have fun in the sun safely.
Hannah Smith, director of aquatics at kids’ swimming school Water Babies said: “Paddling pools are great fun in the garden on a hot summer’s day, but always keep water safety a priority, even if your children are in a paddling pool with just a few inches of water.”
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Drowning is one of the most common causes of accidental death in children, according to Swim England.
To help prevent any dangers, Hannah gave some tips to families using the pools this summer.
She said: “When it comes to emergency and survival, every second counts.
“If you are abroad, make sure you know the emergency number and it is always advisable to have a first aid kit with you.
“Flotation devices can be a fun experience for babies and children, however they can drift away with currents and tides, or even tip over with your little one inside.”
Hannah said water should be a minimum of 30C, or if your baby is under 12 weeks or 12 pounds it should be even higher at 32C.
Advice for parents from The RLSS Drowning Prevention Society
- Drowning is one of the highest causes of accidental death in kids in the UK.
- More than 700 people drown in the UK and Ireland every year (300 of these are accidental).
- There are more than 10 near-drownings for every death, with many of these people suffering life-changing injuries.
- Some 56 kids under the age of 11 drowned in the UK during the last five years.
- To keep your kids safe…
- Always lock gates and fences to stop kids from gaining access to water.
- Securely cover all water tanks and drains.
- Empty paddling pools and buckets straight after use, and turn them upside down.
- Always supervise bathtime, and empty the bath immediately afterwards.
- Check the safety arrangements before going on holiday – is there a lifeguard at the beach?
- Check bathing sites for hazards, and always read the signs.
- Always swim with your kids, and beware of dangerous rip currents in the sea.
- Never use lilos and dinghies in open water – there are drownings every year where people are dragged out to sea.
- Don’t swim near rocks, piers, breakwater or coral.
- Swim parallel to the beach, and close to the shore.
She said you should always be aware if there is a lifeguard present, where the deep end is and if there are any slippery or cracked surfaces.
The swimming expert recommended having a designated adult to watch kids, even if there is a lifeguard present, and non-swimmers should be within an arm’s length away.
She said at Water Babies the average starting age is between three and four months, but they have pupils as young as a day old in their classes.
When it comes to open water studies suggest drownings increase by 70 per cent during a heatwave.
Last year, 277 people died as a result of accidental drowning. according to the Local Government Association (LGA).
It’s an increase in 23 deaths (36 per cent) from the previous year.
Professor Mike Tipton, who has an MBE for his research in extreme environments, told The Sun: “Unfortunately, I suspect there’ll be a peak in immersion accidents and drowning if we get another heatwave.
Some will still be unaware of the risk of cold shock on sudden immersion and what to do about it.
“Because of the physical differences between air and water, air heats up really quickly in early summer, but water takes time.
“Seawater and inland waters get to their warmest around September. So at the moment, the sea around where I am, is at about 14C, but the air temperature is up in the mid 20s.”
Temperatures of 15C are half that of typical swimming pools heated to 30C. The average temperature of UK and Irish waters is 12C.
Prof Tipton said: “The response to sudden cold water immersion can cause a range of physiological responses (gasping, hyperventilation) that can quickly result in drowning.
“There is also a sudden increase in blood pressure and the strain placed upon the heart that can result in heart problems.”
Prof Tipton, of the Extreme Environments Laboratory at the University of Portsmouth, said more than half of cold-water deaths occur within the first minutes of immersion.
He said when the skin suddenly cools down, it stimulates the ‘cold shock’ response.
Three mums share the agony of losing their beloved children to drowning – and why the guilt will never leave them.