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  1. ITV Report

Swimming this summer? Here's how to stay safe

ITV Central Weather Photo: ITV News Central

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service have issued warnings about swimming in lakes or rivers, following the rescue of four children from the River Derwent in Derby.

With the warm summer weather approaching it's not hard to imagine why some people might be tempted to take a plunge.

But consider this, on average 40-50 children drown each year in the UK.

During the school holidays and summer breaks, children are at risk of drowning if they do not take the proper precautions.

ITV Central Weather Credit: ITV News Central

To avoid putting your children in unnecessary danger, they should follow the Water Safety Code:

1.) Spot the dangers

  • Cold water temperatures
  • Hidden currents
  • Fast flowing water
  • Deep water
  • Hidden rubbish or debris under the surface
  • Tough exit points - it can be easy to simply jump in, but how are you going to get out?
  • No lifeguards on duty
  • Water pollution

Water may look safe but strong currents run underneath, making it dangerous. Whilst you may swim well in a warm indoor pool, you may not be able to swim in cold water. It can be difficult to estimate the depth of water than you might think. Spot the danger and keep away.

2.) Take safety advice

Water Safety Flags let you know when it is safe to enter the water:

  • Red and yellow flags mean Lifeguards are on patrol. You should only swim or boogie board in the area between the flags.
  • The red flag means it is dangerous to bathe or swim and you should not go into the water.
  • The quartered black and white flag indicates the area zoned for surf craft and Malibu boards. It is not safe for swimmers and bathers.

Water Safety Signs each have their own meaning:

  • Hazards - Signs that WARN you of danger are triangle shaped and yellow!
  • Prohibition - Signs that mean you should NOT do something have a red line running through!
  • Mandatory - Signs that tell you to DO something are blue and circle shaped!
  • Information - Signs are white with black symbols giving instruction!
  • Equipment Location - Signs are green with white symbols telling you where important things are!

Swim at a swimming pool or beach where a lifeguard is present wherever and whenever possible. If not, then pay attention for special flags for instruction or warning; on beaches, notices, inland waterways.

17-year-old Russell O'Neill lost his life swimming in this quarry near the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire in July 2013 Credit: ITV News Central

3.) Go together

Never go swimming alone.

  • Children should never be alone.
  • An adult can help point out dangers.
  • An adult can help if someone gets into trouble.

4.) Learn how to help

  • Help if someone is struggling
  • Tell a lifeguard
  • Dial 999 - ask for the police or the coastguard

To see or download the Water Safety Code in full and in more detail click here.