Ireland's Water Safety Week 2012

Ireland's Water Safety Week

This current heat wave in Ireland masks the fact that average water temperature is 12 degrees Celsius which could cause cold shock or hypothermia this weekend.

Just weeks from now, half a million primary school children in Ireland will start their summer holidays, many of whom may lack an awareness of how to stay safe when playing around water.

Irish Water Safety is appealing to schoolteachers during National Water Safety Awareness Week (May 28th - June 4th), to give vital water safety information to their pupils before schools close and help prevent further tragic drownings this summer.

Children are naturally curious about water therefore parents should check if their local primary school has yet introduced Irish Water Safety's Primary Aquatics Water Safety ("PAWS") programme which is a component of the primary school curriculum that teaches children how to stay safe around water.

Much of the programme is easily delivered as it is classroom based yet many primary schools have yet to deliver this training. With three weeks to go before schools close, there is still time for teachers and parents to teach essential life skills to keep children safe from drowning.

Forty children aged fourteen and under drowned in Ireland in the last ten years. Children have drowned silently in a matter of seconds and in just a few inches of water. Constant responsible parental supervision guarantees child safety yet tragic drownings occur every year when children manage to escape the watchful eye of guardians. Schoolteachers are ideally placed to instil good safety habits in time for the summer months ahead.

Irish Water Safety offers the following lifesaving advice that teachers and parents alike can deliver to keep children safe from drowning.

  • Swim with others, never alone
  • Don't swim when you're hot or tired
  • Don't swim out after anything drifting
  • Swim in daylight not in darkness
  • Pay attention to signs on the beach
  • Learn to use equipment before trying it out
  • Swim in view of Lifeguards and heed their advice
  • Learn Basic Life Support and Lifesaving Skills
  • Avoid swimming in unfamiliar places
  • Allow time to rest after eating or if tired
  • Stay in the water for short periods
  • Swim parallel and close to the shore
  • Don't be a bully to others in water
  • Never use inflatable toys in open water
  • Wear a Lifejacket with crotch strap when boating or fishing from shore

IWS Further Resources

Irish Water Safety has produced a Safe Swimming Guide which is available at www.iws.ie/guides-page.html

More online advice is available at www.aquaattack.ie that will ensure children's safety when boating, on farms, at inland waterways, on holidays, at swimming pools and all areas where tragic drownings have previously occurred.

Download the IWS Smartphone App for details of Lifeguarded waterways nationwide and lots of water safety tips.

ECSA Resources

Drowning and Water Safety

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