Public Health Wales child drowning review published

A new report by the Child Death Review Programme at Public Health Wales has found a link between drinking alcohol and drowning among young people. The report also suggests that closer and appropriate adult supervision may help prevent drowning in some cases.

The ‘Thematic review of deaths of children and young people through drowning’ includes recommendations to support the prevention of deaths from drowning.  A key recommendation emerging from the report is that organisations in Wales need to work together in a new national forum to improve water safety.

The report also highlights the need for consistent guidance on safer bathing for children and young people with epilepsy and their carers, and to support healthcare professionals.  There is currently no widely shared consensus advice on safer bathing for people with epilepsy.

The thematic review looked at the deaths of children and young people from birth to 24 years between 1 October 2009 and 30 September 2014.  26 deaths were considered in the review, which included individuals who were normally resident in Wales or died within Wales.

The report finds that majority of deaths occurred in older children and young people, with 21 deaths (81 per cent) occurring in individuals aged 12–24 years.  These deaths tended to occur in open water environments.

Five of the deaths (19 per cent) were children aged 11 years or under.  These deaths tended to occur in closed water environments, like pools.

The report also finds that the majority of deaths were in males, with 21 (81 per cent) occurring among this group.

Almost one third of deaths (31 per cent, eight of the 26) may have been linked to possible alcohol consumption.

The report also advises:

  • Organisations in Wales should have common messages on water safety, appropriate to the setting
  • There are interventions that may encourage safer swimming or prevent unintended contact with water, like self-latching gates around pools
  • Education on how pool-based lessons relate to open water could be included in Welsh Government efforts to ensure every child in Wales is able to swim
  • Planning is needed in Wales to take forward the UK national drowning prevention strategy (2016–2026) goal of producing publically available community-level risk assessment and water safety plans
  • Holidaymakers at home and abroad could be encouraged to be more aware of water safety, supported by the tourist industry routinely providing advice and guidance on water safety
  • There are opportunities to improve sharing of data, and to look at how information is communicated to support prevention, including reports by coroners
  • Appropriate support for those involved in drowning events in Wales is important

The Child Death Review programme in Wales aims to identify and describe patterns and causes of child death including any trends, and to recommend actions to reduce the risk of avoidable factors contributing to child deaths in Wales.

More information about the programme is available on their website at www.publichealthwales.org/childdeathreview.

Drowning Prevention Week 22nd – 30th June 2013

Drowning Prevention Week is runs from 22nd to the 30th June 2013, is a national campaign run by the Royal Life Saving Society UK to promote water safety messages and help reduce incidents of drowning.

DPW Logo

Drowning Prevention Week 2013

More than 400 people drown in the UK each year, and thousands suffer near-drowning experiences. Drowning Prevention Week encourages schools, clubs, leisure centres and communities to come up with new and exciting ways to show people how they can have fun and stay safe around water.

There are lots of ways you can take part, to see how you can get involved go to: http://www.drowningpreventionweek.org.uk

Surf’s up! Jersey school children take to the waves with RNLI lifeguards

School children on Jersey headed to the beach with RNLI lifeguards this summer to learn vital lessons about how to keep themselves safe in the surf. A total of 170 children from four schools took part in the charity’s unique Hit the Surf scheme which was delivered on Jersey for the first time this year. The programme sees RNLI lifeguards give surf safety sessions to youngsters aged between 7 and 11 – combining theory and practical lessons, which aim to make the children more capable and confident in the water.

Dave Gorman, the RNLI Lifeguard Manager who runs the programme, says:

“We were delighted to introduce the Hit the Surf programme to schools on Jersey. Hit the Surf is a fun and active programme for the children to get involved in but it also carries some very important messages about how to stay safe in the surf and what to do should they find themselves in difficulty”.

ASA launch the new ‘Go Swimming!’ resource

Exciting new resource for everyone who wants to ‘Go Swimming’!. Help inspire more people to Go Swimming today. Join in getting ready for the Games and encourage everyone to visit swimming.org/go, the brand new online companion launched by the ASA. Quite simply, it provides everything a person needs to know about taking part in aquatics. If you have been inspired by our athletes to find out more about swimming and its disciplines, you will discover some great features, including an easy-to-use Poolfinder tool where they can check out details of the clubs and centres nearest to them. Encourage everyone to share in the mounting excitement of the Olympic and Paralympic Games with us as we provide all the information needed to enjoy all elements of aquatic sports:

  • An easy to use ‘Poolfinder’ tool to locate the nearest pools, view their facilities, clubs and contact details
  • Clear, concise guidance on how and why to join a club including routes on getting into and trying out water polo, synchronised swimming and diving
  • Exciting, not-to-be-missed content such as tips on improving swimming from the experts, exclusive video excerpts and interviews with Team GB heroes
  • How to get more involved in swimming, from volunteering or officiating through to starting a brand new career as a teacher or coach
  • Guidance and advice for everyone: adults, parents, under 16s, the disabled, existing swimmers or those completely new to aquatics

To find out more go to the swimming.org website… 

Children take to the beach with confidence thanks to the RNLI

As pupils and teachers across the country enjoy the start of the Summer holidays, over a thousand children can take to the beach with confidence this summer thanks to RNLI educational programme Hit the Surf. Over the past six weeks, the charity’s lifeguards have been holding beach safety sessions at Tenby, Poppit Sands, Newport and Aberavon to teach primary school children vital skills and knowledge that will help them stay safe on the beach this Summer. In total, 1188 primary school children took part in the charity’s educational programme over the six week period. Nicky Palmer, RNLI Lifeguard Community Engagement Supervisor said:
‘Once again RNLI Hit the Surf was a great success across south and west Wales. This was the first time for the team to hold the educational sessions on Aberavon beach, but we had a warm welcome from the schools, as well as a chance to work closely with Port Talbot volunteer lifeboat crew who were a great support to the lifeguarding team. Hopefully the children will remember the safety tips they learnt at Hit the Surf, and that the skills will help them stay safe on the beach this summer.’
Even though the weatherman is forecasting warm weather and sunshine over the weekend, RNLI lifeguards are advising members of the public to be careful when enjoying the sea as the water temperature is still colder than usual for this time of year. Hit the Surf is an educational programme that’s presented by a team of RNLI lifeguards at various locations across the coast. During the sessions, children from local schools learn about the meaning of different flags they may see on the beach, top safety tips as well as a chance to don their wetsuits and learn basic board skills under the watchful eye of the RNLI lifeguards. Read the full article on the RNLI website…

SLSGB awarded Sport England funding

SLSGB have received a grant of £39,000 from Sport England to put towards their Life Saving Sport Education Development Project.
The award will be used to encourage more people of all ages to participate more often in SLSGB’s multiple surf life saving sport activities, improving sporting competence, increasing satisfaction with sporting experience and maintaining a long term interest in life saving sport.
The funding SLSGB has received will help enhance SLSGB lifesaver pathways as well as create a clear path of progression for members to achieve. Read more on the SLGB website…

Children learn life saving skills

Children from around the country are being given the chance to learn about the dangers posed by open water this summer thanks to vital life-saving scheme Get Safe 4 Summer. The youngsters are being taught water safety skills at a number of pools from next week as part of Get Safe 4 Summer, an educational and water safety campaign run by the ASA with events supported by Swimathon Foundation.

The ASA’s Get Safe 4 Summer campaign is all about raising awareness that swimming in open water such as lakes, rivers, canals and the sea is very different from the pool.

The events teach children about the dangers of open water, as well as highlighting that swimming is the only sport that can save your life. ASA Chief Executive David Sparkes said: “The ability to recognise dangers and knowledge of water safety is just as important as being able to swim.  Particularly important during the summer holidays, the ASA’s Get Safe 4 Summer campaign is all about raising awareness that swimming in open water such as lakes, rivers, canals and the sea is very different from the pool.  We want everyone to be able to enjoy the water but in a safe and sensible way.”

Swimathon Foundation Chairman Anthony Kendall said: ” We are very pleased to support the ASA and The Swimming Trust in teaching youngsters about the importance of swimming and water safety.  It is exactly what we, as a Foundation, stand for.”
The events will consist of an action-packed few hours in the water with a host of fun and educational activities. They include attendance from the RLSS who are also running a Water Safety Awareness Week 16th-24th June.

Schools, leisure facilities and swim schools can get involved by holding their own Get Safe 4 Summer event.  Supporting resources are available to download online, including a Pool Event Pack with details of what, when and who should be involved, posters and certificates to reward the young people attending. Read more on the ASA website…

New research reveals one in three children leave primary school unable to swim

Learning to swim at an early age can ultimately go on to save a child’s life and with drowning being the third most common cause of accidental death in children, it’s concerning to learn that one in three children are now leaving school unable to swim.

The startling new research carried out by Kellogg’s and the ASA has revealed that around 200,000 children will leave primary school this summer unable to swim, amounting to an astonishing 2million non-swimmers over the next ten years.

Of those children unable to swim, nearly 40% have never been offered school swimming lessons despite it being a statutory element of the National Curriculum.

In response to the findings the ASA and Kellogg’s are today (Thursday 17 May) meeting with the government to urge parliamentarians, policy makers, local authorities and relevant organisations to prioritise the only sport that saves lives so every child has the opportunity to learn to swim irrespective of socio-economic and ethnic background.

The research also highlighted the role of parents in helping their children learn to swim and discovered that without school swimming many children would miss out completely on the chance to learn as one in six parents admits they never take their child swimming.

Other NWSF members were also involved with the event at the launch of the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) school swimming strategy, a private event held at Westminster Hall. Representatives from RoSPA, Surf Life Saving GB and The Royal Life Saving Society UK were all at the event. Read more on the swimming.org website…

The ASA School Swimming Manifesto

The ASA six-point manifesto aims to improve central and local government support for swimming and make school swimming lessons a priority.
The manifesto, titled ‘Save School Swimming, Save Lives’, is in response to the recent research carried out by Kellogg’s and the ASA revealing that one in three children are leaving primary school unable to swim.

The six points included in the manifesto are:

  1. Every child learning to swim in primary school
  2. Improve training for primary school teachers
  3. Robust monitoring of school swimming at Ofsted
  4. Swimming as a school budget priority
  5. Support at secondary schools
  6. Help keep school pools open

Find out more details on the ASA School Swimming Manifesto.

SLSGB supports ASA swim strategy to improve children’s swimming

SLSGB Chief Executive Esther Pearson today (17 May) represented SLSGB at the launch of the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) school swimming strategy, a private event held at Westminster Hall.

It was announced today that a third of all children leaving primary school are unable to swim 25m unaided, putting children’s lives at risk. Water Accident and Incident Database (WAID) data suggests that drowning is the third most common form of accidental death in children in the UK, and 57 of the 400 drownings each year being children. Many argue that if they were able to swim that statistic would be lot lower.

The ASA today launched a new swim strategy, focused on encouraging schools and local authorities to deliver swimming. Esther Pearson said:

“SLSGB is right behind the campaign promoting swimming and tackling this shocking issue, but we believe that there is a lack of facilities and it’s often expensive to swim and have lessons in leisure centres. Getting water confidence is about getting to know your environment as well as being able to swim, which is why our Nippers programmes are so important for children.” Read more on the SLSGB website…