According to a water safety charity, many children in the UK are not receiving adequate support when it comes to an understanding the risks associated with swimming in open lakes and ponds. This warning comes after two teenagers tragically died while swimming at a lake in Solihull.
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The charity, National Water Safety Forum (NWSF), has highlighted that many school curricula do not cover how to stay safe near water, instead focusing on academic topics or professional sport-related activities. The NWSF also noted limited access to swimming lessons for those from poorer backgrounds.
Nigel Turvey, Chair of the NWSF, said: “It is deeply concerning that we have young people who are not educated about the dangers of open water. We must do more to ensure all children, regardless of their background or financial situation, have access to the knowledge and resources needed to stay safe near water.”
The NWSF has been campaigning for years on national and local levels to raise awareness of water safety in schools. They are urging local authorities and education boards to recognise the importance of teaching youngsters about swimming safely in natural waters such as rivers, lakes, canals and ponds.
David Walker, Chief Executive of the RNLI, said: “It is essential that young people know what risks are associated with swimming in open water before deciding whether it is right for them. Our message is simple – never swim alone and know your limits.”
It is essential that all young people, regardless of their background or financial situation, are taught the importance of water safety and how to keep themselves safe near water. The NWSF urges local authorities and education boards to recognise the need for this vital information and provide the necessary resources for children to learn about the dangers of swimming in open waters. Doing so can help save lives.
What can the government do to permeate safety?