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Dorset Swim School Aiming to Cut Number of Children Drowning

Swim

8:42am 25th June 2014

60 children drown in the UK every summer and accidental drowning causes 400 deaths in the UK every year.

A Dorset swim school is now urging parents to get their youngsters used to the water from a young age.

Dorset Water Babies say you can teach your child water safety skills from the moment they're born.

Jo Tolley runs local classes.  She explains how they would start getting your child to swim.

"We would start showing them how to hold on to the rail and get babies and toddlers to splash in the water.  Sadly with infant drowning it tends to be the shock of the fall and the cold water the freezes them into not being able to do anything."

"Babies are born with reflexes, which means they are able to swim.  We teach them how to hold their breath and we take them under the water, and then they swim a short distance under the water. And the as soon as they are strong enough we teach them to swim on top of the water."

Water Babies commissioned a research study of 2,000 families' swimming habits in support of the Royal Life Saving Society UK's Drowning Prevention Week (21 - 29 June).

More than half of the parents surveyed said that they wouldn't feel confident their child could save themselves if they got into trouble in the water, and 44% admitted that they themselves wouldn't feel confident in their own swimming skills to rescue their child. In fact, 16% of parents confessed they couldn't even swim at all.

Paul Thompson, Water Babies co-founder, says: "It's vital to encourage children to respect water from as early an age as possible. Our research showed that the average age children start swimming lessons is four years old and 40% of children haven't had a lesson by the age of 12. But swimming lessons can actually can take place from birth, in fact, our youngest pupil was only two days old.

"It's tragic that drowning is still the third highest cause of accidental death for UK children. In most cases it's the shock of sudden submersion that causes children to panic. We believe that by introducing children to the water as early as possible, they are less likely to experience fear if they do fall in.

"With progressive training, babies can be taught lifesaving skills such as turning on their backs or, following sudden submersion, swimming to the nearest solid object. Over the last few years a dozen of our pupils have saved themselves from drowning, some of whom were just two years old."

Water Babies Sessions Happening THIS WEEK:

Wednesday at Wyvern School from 4pm - 5.30pm.
Thursday at Wyvern School from 4pm - 5.30pm
Friday at Dove House in Dorchester from 10am - 12.30pm.

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