13th July 2020
With the UK set to enjoy a further heat wave and with the summer holidays just around the corner, many will be flocking to local beaches, parks and lakes to enjoy cooling off in the water.
Our Personal Injury Team at Lamb Brooks are all too familiar with accidents and injuries suffered whilst out at about at public places. It is easy for people to let their guard down and become complacent about safety when they are distracted, having fun or enjoying drinks with friends outside.
Every year in the UK and Ireland, 700 people lose their lives to water-related accidents and many more suffer life-changing injuries.
Here we share some top tips for keeping safe during hot weather, particularly when water is involved…
Drowning or water-related accidents increase during the summer months as more people venture out into seas, pools and lakes, with 1 in 5 people saying that they know someone who has nearly drowned and 1 in 10 people knowing of someone dying having drowned.
Drowning Prevention Week was aptly held just before the UK temperatures soared – a campaign which you may have spotted on television adverts. The campaign reminds people of general water safety and tips on what to do if you get into difficulty whilst out of your depth.
Last month 3 people were seriously injured within hours of each other, after jumping off an infamous diving spot, Durdle Door in Dorset. Thrill seekers cliff diving into open water probably face the biggest risk of impact injury on rocks as well as drowning. But those swimming in the sea, sailing, cliff walking or taking part in water sports should also be doing so with extra caution.
Taking part in water sports such as sailing, jet skiing and windsurfing should be done carefully and with the appropriate training. Always wear protective equipment and ensure that someone knows where you are and your expected time to return.
Take notice of flags and signs at beaches, particularly if you are visiting smaller, local beaches that you have not been to before. Riptides, rocks and currents can very quickly spoil a day out at the beach, even for the most experienced and confident swimmer.
It is worth noting that although the air temperatures are very warm at the moment, the water off our UK coastlines can still feel very cold. Cold water shock can cause your muscles to weaken, affect your breathing and impact swimming ability.
Swimming lessons for children are a fun but also very practical life lesson to give them confidence and enable them to enjoy the water more safely with their friends and family. But it is important to remember than being able to swim is not always going to keep them out of danger.
Be aware of strong currents, waves, rocks, moving boats or fishing equipment and water sports. Only allow your children to play in safe places and always supervise them. Teach children how to play kindly in water too – dunking and splashing friends may look like harmless fun but pushing boundaries or rough play can be fatal for weaker swimmers.
Cooling off in the garden for tots and babies can often include a splash in a paddling pool or playing with sprinklers, hoses, and buckets of water. A fantastic way to have fun, learn and cool down during hot weather but young children need constant supervision when playing with water even if it is in your own back garden and feels safe and secure.
Children can drown in as little as 1 inch or 2 of water, so be careful to not leave them unattended. It takes a split second for a child to slip under the water in a seemingly innocent paddling pool.
Hosepipes are also a danger. When left out in the sun the left-over water in a hose pipe can become boiling hot against the plastic tubing. When turning on a hose pipe, ensure that you are directing the water flow away from people and pets. Always check the temperature before a child plays with it.
A great luxury to any garden, a hot tub can be enjoyed in both summer and winter evenings. Mostly used by adults, the main issue to be aware of is alcohol consumption. Enjoying a soak in the hot tub with a glass of wine sounds like bliss, but too many alcoholic beverages can lead to slipping and drowning, as senses become less responsive.
Children are also tempted to enjoy hot tubs and when they do, they should always be supervised remembering that the water will be a lot deeper for them. Recently in the news we heard of a sad story where a 1 year old drowned in a hot tub in his garden in Sussex. Drains and filters can also cause harm, if hair, fingers or toys were to become stuck. Make sure children have long hair tied back and that they know not to put anything near filters and drains.
The edges and floors surrounding hot tubs can become very slippery. Decking and patios are particularly nasty to slip on and can cause high impact head injuries, sprains and fractures. Always use non-slip mats and towels and install a handrail if you can.
As lockdown measures start to relax it can be tempting to push boundaries and take a longer road trip to a popular picnic spot or venture to your nearest coastline. We would urge people to stay alert to the virus that is still around us and ensure that you can safely enjoy the sun whilst socially distancing and being able to minimise the contact you have with communal facilities and other people.
There is plenty of fun to be had whilst abiding to government guidelines in relation to Covid-19 and not putting more unnecessary pressure on our NHS.
Feeling out of control in water can be a frightening experience and our natural reaction may not be the best response to ensuring safety.
Whilst many drowning or water-related accidents happen due to people not keeping themselves safe, there are occasions where the correct safety procedures have not been followed.
If you or someone you know suffers an injury that was not their fault, water-related or otherwise, then please contact our expert injury lawyers to discuss whether you have a claim and the likely compensation.
Call us on 01256 844888, email firstname.lastname@example.org or speak to our online chat assistant at any time of day.
Keeping Children Safe During Lockdown
6 Signs That You May Have a Personal Injury Claim
What To Do If You Are Injured on Holiday
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.
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Victoria House 39 Winchester Street Basingstoke Hampshire RG21 7EQ
f: 01256 330 933
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