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Keeping Your Little One Safe Near Water This Summer

It’s shocking to realise that 37 Children (aged 14 and under) have died in Ireland as a result of drowning over the past ten years.

Water-related tragedies can occur quickly and silently, however they can be prevented. In the lead up to National Water Safety Awareness week (20th – 26th June), Water Babies, Ireland’s leading baby and toddler swim school and Glohealth Insurance, wants to increase awareness of the importance of learning to swim at an early age and advise parents about water safety for little ones.

Water Babies has also produced a FREE bookmark, sponsored by GloHealth with helpful water safety guidelines for parents. To get a free bookmark visit By following these guidelines parents and carers can minimize the chances of a tragic incident befalling their child this summer and all through the year:

Actively supervise young children around water

  • Parents must keep an eye on their children at ALL times – they can be easily distracted chatting to other parents, reading a newspaper or talking on the phone
  • Supervising adults should be in arms reach of children under five so that if a child slips underwater, they can be pulled to safety immediately
  • The adult watching MUST be able to swim and not afraid to jump in the water
  • If leaving, even momentarily, take your child with you or designate a known adult to supervise – never leave an older sibling in charge around water

Be safety conscious at the poolside

  • Make sure there is a qualified lifeguard in attendance before you or your children enter a public swimming pool
  • Check where the rescue equipment and lifeguards are
  • Do not swim in a swimming pool which has cloudy pool water or where you can’t see the pool bottom
  • Save the local emergency numbers on your mobile phone

Flotation devices are not life preservers

  • Toys and inflatables are often unstable and therefore a hazard
  • On the Beach
  • Find beaches that are recognised locally as safe to swim, and preferably lifeguarded
  • Swim within your depth
  • Find out where the lifeguards are and learn water symbols and flags indicating current beach conditions
  • Please follow their advice, available at Irish Water Safety’s website

Stay Sober

  • Drinking can impair your supervision and swimming skills – especially when combined with the mid-day heat
  • Learn BLS (Basic Life Support)
  • Survival depends on a quick rescue and basic life support (resuscitation) if a child has stopped breathing
  • Seconds count using Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to prevent death or brain damage

Teach your children these water safety rules

  • Always swim with others, never alone
  • Do not push or jump onto others or participate in any dangerous behaviour in a swimming pool – ie horseplay, wrestling, running, jumping and dive bombing – it might result in injury
  • Do not dive into water unless someone has already tested the depth and checked for any underwater hazards. Diving into insufficient water depths can cause face, head and spinal injuries and even death
  • Know what to do in an emergency and where to get help. Call 112


  • Make sure everybody wears a lifejacket when boating or fishing that is age and size specific and has a correctly fitting crotch strap

Water Babies and Irish Water Safety recommend that children learn to swim from as early as possible. Water Babies operate classes in Dublin, Meath, Kildare, Louth, Galway, Sligo, Mayo, Waterford, Wexford, Tipperary, Carlow, Kilkenny, Cork, Kerry and Limerick. For more info on Water Babies classes, check out and for adult classes in swimming, water survival and rescue classes, check out

As always, we would love to hear your opinions. Please leave a comment below.

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