MAGAZINE: Concern as one in five children experience near-misses in open water

The Amateur Swimming Association and RNLI are launching a new campaign to educate parents on the dangers of open water swimming.

Despite the RNLI warning that swimming in temperature below 15 degrees celsius can seriously affect your breathing and movement, 26 per cent do not believe cold water would affect their child’s swimming ability.

Furthermore, although most fatalities occur in open water or in the sea the research reveals that nearly half (43%) of parents wrongly believe that if their child can swim in a pool they will be safe in the sea.

More worryingly, one in eight parents admit that they don’t always supervise their children when they are in the sea or open water, even though one in seven parents say their child cannot swim (needs floats, doesn’t take their feet off the floor or can’t swim at all).

The ASA and RNLI are urging parents to take more responsibility for their children in open water and concerned that the message of the added dangers and difficulties of beach swimming are misunderstood by both parents and kids.

The push is part of the ASA’s annual Swim Safe programme which is a joint initiative between the organisation and the RNLI which aims to give children aged 7-14 years old visiting the coast an opportunity to understand and learn about the differences between swimming in a pool and the challenges of swimming in an open water environment

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