PARENTS have been warned about the harms of taking their kids swimming during the heatwave.
And there’s a simple trick you can use to make sure children are safe in the pool.
When the sun comes out in the UK, Brits flock to lidos, the sea and lakes, and many families get a pop-up pool.
Drownings increase during a UK heatwave by up to 70 per cent for a number of reasons.
The water is colder, which can cause shock and currents are stronger than people realise.
While these drownings typically occur in natural water, pools can be dangerous if your kids are not supervised.
Parents are also warned to keep an eye on kids abroad – over the last six years, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) said 30 children under 10 have drowned in holiday swimming pools abroad.
In order to protect your little one from danger, first aiders have warned that you should be mindful when dressing them for the pool.
Posting to Tiny Hearts Education, former paramedic and CEO Nikki Jurcutz said: “Always put your little one in bright or contrasting colours that would be easy to find in an emergency.
“It only takes 20 seconds to drown, little tips like this could save a life”.
Along with the advice she posted a short clip which showed two different baby grows at the bottom of a pool.
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The white garment is harder to detect and it blends in with the tiles of the pool.
But the dark one was easy to see – making it easy for parents to spot baby if the unthinkable happens.
Nikki added: “I wanted to demonstrate why the colour of your little one’s swimwear is so important, look how easily this could be missed – got for bright or contrasting colours.”
This means colours that would clash – so you should also avoid blue swimsuits as many pools have tiles this shade.
Experts at RoSPA say that babies and toddlers are most at risk when it comes to drowning.
They state that this is because in many cases, toddlers will wander away from their parents and fall into an unsupervised pool.
“Drowning children don’t cry out for help and wave to be rescued – they disappear under the surface – often unseen and unheard.
“Adults need to be vigilant whenever a child is in or near a pool,” their guidance states.
When it comes to what parents need to look out for this summer, RoSPA said that you should always check the safety arrangements in advance.
For example, make sure there is a lifeguard and safety barriers around a pool area.
Cllr Nesil Caliskan, of the LGA, which represents councils across England and Wales, said “swimming in unknown water could lead to tragic consequences”.
He said: “What might look like a safe place to take a dip or have a swim could in fact be a danger.
“Our advice is to brush up on your water safety skills and always swim in water that is clearly marked as safe and under the control of a lifeguard.”
If you’re going abroad, look for villas or holiday homes that have safety fencing around the pool.
Before you go on your trip you should also teach children to never swim alone.
RoSPA also recommend taking a child first aid course to learn resuscitation, in case the worst happens.
What to do if your child is drowning?
St John Ambulance have given their advice on what to do if a child is drowning.
The experts say that when a child is drowning, it may not always look like the distressed call for help that most people expect from watching TV. They may easily go unnoticed, even if friends or family are nearby.
Firstly, they say to not put yourself in danger if you’re trying to rescue a child.
When they have been rescued from the water you should perform what is known as a primary survey.
This includes checking if they are responsive and breathing and calling 999 or getting someone else to while you start CPR.
How to save a life and correctly perform CPR
RCUK says you should follow these tips when it comes to helping to resuscitate someone.
- Shake the person gently and then shout for help
- Call 999
- If you think the person might have Covid-19 and could be infectious then don’t put your face to close to theirs. The RCUK suggests using a towel or a piece of clothing to lay over their mouth and nose
- Give chest compressions only – do not give rescue breaths
- Continue to do this until an ambulance arrives
- After the ambulance crew have taken over wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or use an alcohol based hand gel.
Sue Hampshire, Director of Clinical and Service Development at RCUK said: “We want as many people as possible to know how to do CPR so they have the skills and confidence to help if someone collapses and stops breathing normally.
“Quickly calling for help and quickly starting chest compressions are crucial first steps in giving someone their best chance of life.
“We know that songs with the right tempo are a good way to learn and remember the pace of chest compressions, which should be 100-120 compressions per minute. “
She added that in a real emergency an ambulance call handler will count the beat with you, so don’t worry if a song doesn’t spring to mind.
“The ambulance call handler will instruct you to interlock your fingers, place your hands in the centre of the person’s chest, and push down hard and then release twice per second, until further help arrives.
“So whoever your favourite artist and whatever your favourite CPR song with the right tempo, what matters most is that you act in an emergency. If it helps you, you can sing that song in your head while doing the chest compressions”, she added.
There are other simple ways to learn CPR. Our simple animation talks you through what to do www.resus.org.uk/watch and you can put yourself realistically in the heart of the action by playing Lifesaver at www.lifesaver.org.uk
Next you need to start CPR and the experts explained: “Place the child on a firm surface and open their airway. To do this, place one hand on their forehead to tilt their head back and use two fingers from the other hand to gently lift the chin.
“Only pick out any visible obstructions from the mouth and nose.”
Then you need to give five initial rescue breaths.
To do this, take the hand from the forehead and pinch the soft part of the nose closed and allow their mouth to fall open.
With their head tilted, take a breath and put your mouth around the child’s making a seal.
Steadily, blow into their mouth for up to one second until their chest rises.
Then remove your mouth and watch their chest fall – this is classed as one rescue breath.
If their chest doesn’t rise then check their airway is open before moving on to 30 chest compressions.
To do this, the experts say you should kneel by the child and place one hand in the centre of their chest.
Then push down a third of the depth of the chest and release the presurre.
Repeat 30 times at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute.
You can use popular songs to help you gauge the tempos.
After you have done the compressions, do two rescue breaths and continue to perform CPR until emergency help arrives and takes over.
You should also stop if the child starts to show signs of life and is breathing normally again.