Parents urged to speak to their children about water safety in wake of high temperatures

We’re urging parents to speak to their children about the dangers of going into open water as higher temperatures hit Staffordshire this week.

Weather forecasts over the next few days predict summer temperatures and plenty of sun across the county, which many people will be making the most of.

We’re blessed with lots of stunning areas of natural beauty across Staffordshire and we want people to enjoy them – but to enjoy them safely and responsibly.

Higher temperatures often mean higher demands on emergency services, especially if people are going into open water to cool off and don’t know the risks involved.

In a similar spate of high temperatures last year, we rescued a man who jumped into a river in the Moorlands, not realising how shallow it was and injuring himself on the bottom of the river bed.

Prevent and Protect lead, Ian Read, is urging parents and carers of young people to speak to them about the dangers involved in going into open water.

He said: “It might seem a good way of quickly cooling off with your friends, but entering open water can be incredibly dangerous, especially if you don’t know how to keep yourself and others safe.

“Even on the hottest summer days, open water is usually much colder than you’d imagine and lakes aren’t always as deep as they appear.

“The water can be cold enough to send you into a state of shock, without mentioning the chances of serious injury if you hit the bottom too hard.

“Rivers and lakes are often full of sharp rocks and boulders too which can cause further injury and become a trip hazard.

“In the event in which you fall into water, you should try to avoid the instinct to thrash around as much as possible.

“Your body is likely to react like this when experiencing a drastic change in temperature, but you should lean back, extend your legs and arms and use slow, gentle movements to stay afloat.

“Once you have controlled your breathing, attempt to swim to safety and call for help.”

“A quick conversation between a parent or guardian with a young person could help so much more than people realise, which is why we’re urging people to make sure they are aware of the dangers and to help us keep people safe.”

Anyone who may witness a person or animal in trouble around water should dial 999 as soon as possible.

For more information on how to stay safe around open water, visit: Water safety (staffordshirefire.gov.uk)

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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding.

In an emergency call 999. General enquiries call 0300 330 1000.

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