Tamsin Brewis, owner of local baby swim school based in Banbury called Water Babies Bucks and Beds, is sharing her top tips on how to make sure the whole family can have fun at the beach, canals and lakes this summer while staying as safe as possible around the open water.
Tamsin has offered the safe swimming tips ahead of the upcoming Drowning Prevention Week June 19 to 26.
Tamsin said: “Trying to maintain social distancing, keeping an eye on your loved ones and making sure you’re enjoying time with your family is a real balancing act.
"The best thing about these tips is they take very little time to implement but can make all the difference. With the sun shining and restrictions lifting, it’s no wonder families are itching to get out and about again and by bearing the above in mind, you’re guaranteed some safe fun in the sun!”
She issued the following safety tips:
At the beach
- Make sure your whole family understand the warning flags and signs on beaches. The RNLI have warned that, due to Covid-19, there will be fewer lifeguard patrols this summer, so take extra care and decide on a family meeting point if your little ones wander off.
- On UK shores, rip currents are common, so make sure your children aren’t following older siblings or other beach-goers into the water without alerting you first.
- A great way to ensure social distancing when you’re out and about at the beach is to arrive ‘beach ready,’ so showered and already in your swimwear. Avoid using public shower facilities and wash off when you get home.
Canals, lakes and streams
- Whilst visiting the many lakes and streams across Oxfordshire, don’t be tempted to let your children take a dip. Wait for the safety of the paddling pool.
- River and canal banks can become very slippery and are often steeper than they first appear. Holding hands whilst playing waterside will help minimise accidents.
- With the development of Castle Quay 2 well underway, families should be able to enjoy canalside dining very soon. But be aware of mooring stations and loose ropes around docked boats along the waters edge– if you’re enjoying a walk it’s easy to miss these trip hazards.
- Water levels changing around canal weirs can be fascinating for little ones but be particularly cautious when watching canal boats pass through. Walkways can be narrow and slippery, so don’t let your children near the lock without being supervised.
In the garden
- Did you know? One of the most common injuries during the summer months is wasp stings and insect bites. As an adult, these can be rather painful but for a child, can be agonising.
- Therefore, make sure you’re checking paddling pools, sandpits and sun protection tents for any unwanted visitors before letting your little ones loose
- A little dip in a paddling pool is a great way to keep children cool and encourages an early love of the water. Little ones as young as a few months old will love a paddle.
Tamsin said: "I’ve had new-borns aged just eight days old at my swimming lessons, so there’s really no such thing as too young! But make sure the pool is completely shaded and test the water temperature before letting them in, checking it isn’t too hot or cold."
- For older children who need less help, get them into the habit of always asking permission before getting in the water and only let them in when there is a responsible adult present. When the splashing is over for the day, drain the pool completely and turn it upside down.