Terrifying near drowning accidents form target of drowning prevention campaign

15 June 2018

The UK’s drowning prevention charity, RLSS UK, has pledged to cut down the thousands of terrifying near drowning accidents that happen every year in the UK, as their annual Drowning Prevention Week campaign kicks off this week.

Each year, around 2,100 people in England alone are admitted to Accident and Emergency as a result of non-fatal drowning incidents also known as a ‘near drowning’, with thousands more incidences occurring in Wales and Scotland.

RLSS UK is urging everyone to play their part and take advantage of their local Drowning Prevention Week campaign activities, to learn how to keep their families safe this summer.

CEO for RLSS UK Di Steer said: “We estimate that for every drowning death that occurs, there are more than 10 near drownings, with many of these leading to life changing injuries.”

“These incidents are hugely disturbing for families, friends and witnesses and even without physical repercussions, they can often leave deep psychological scars.”

Mark Hobden from Shropshire knows only too well how quickly fun can turn to terror, after he and his wife came close to losing their young son whilst on holiday in Portugal last August.

Reuben, then 6, was knocked off a lilo in the swimming pool and was found lying on the bottom of the pool, blue and not breathing.

Thankfully, police officer Mark had received lifesaving training at work and began giving him mouth to mouth, whilst other holiday goers carried out stomach compressions. Reuben began breathing again and, after being checked out at a local hospital, he was given a clean bill of health and was back in the pool the following day.

Mark said “We took our eyes off him for literally a matter of seconds. We continue to live with the horror or what happened and what might have been, if it wasn’t for knowing basic lifesaving skills.”

“I want parents to use this story as a warning. I’d urge them to make sure their children know about water safety. Please don’t get complacent, make sure you know how to keep your family safe.”

Di Steer said: “Our Drowning Prevention Week campaign aims to get everyone talking about water safety. We want as many people as possible to just spend a bit of time making sure they know how to stay safe near water. Most of us are generally aware of the hazards at the beach but tend to overlook dangers closer to home like water temperature, sudden changes in depth or hidden debris. A few simple steps are all it takes to prevent a tragedy.”

More than 700 people drown in the UK and Ireland every year.

Drowning Prevention Week, the national campaign run by The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) and this year supported by RNLI, aims runs from 15 to 25 June 2018, and will see hundreds of leisure centres, schools, businesses and youth groups utilising RLSS UK’s water safety resources in their communities.

This year, the UK’s leading leisure operators including Places for People, GLL, Parkwood, Everyone Active, Freedom Leisure and Serco, have elected to run a compelling programme of activities across all their sites, meaning around 600,00 people will be reached with water safety messaging throughout the campaign.