Water Safety

What is Water Safety?

Water safety is important for children of all agencies. Drowning is among the leading causes of accidental deaths and claims the lives of more than 50 children every year in the UK. Around 50% of children aged 7 and under who accidentally drowned did so at home. Accidental drownings reflect normal everyday activities, and can happen throughout every stage of life.

Babies and young children can be most vulnerable when they first begin to move around. Older children can be at risk when they stray further from parental supervision and teenagers through risk taking and thrill-seeking behaviours.

It is essential children know about water safety - even very young children can learn how to be safe near water. It is important to have a discussion about water safety with your child/children on a regular basis to ensure they are aware of the dangers and how to safely play in and around the water.

Kids standing on bridge

Teach your children the Water Safety Code


Look for the dangers.

Always read the signs and understand what they mean.


Never go near water on your own.

Always have an adult with you.


If you fall in or become tired – stay clam, float on your back and call for help. Throw something that floats to someone who has fallen in.

CALL 999

Ask for the Fire Service when inland and Coastguard if at the coast.

Don’t enter the water to rescue

Resources for Parents and Carers

Children are often drawn to open water, particularly during the summer months, this includes places such as the sea, lakes, reservoirs, ponds, canals, rivers, and even paddling pools.

Under-estimating the dangers of water can have tragic consequences.

Toddler Water Safety

Toddler’s want to explore the world once they are walking. Never leave children unattended and always hold your child’s hand near water.

Drowning can happen in under 30 seconds, remain as close as possible in order to react quickly should something occur. Make sure the brake is on a pram or pushchair when stationary. Garden ponds should be filled in while children are small or securely fenced off. Take special care when visiting other people’s gardens.

Bath Water Safety

Babies can drown in as little as 5cm (2 inches) of water and it’s one of the commonest causes of child death. It often occurs silently, quickly and without noise or struggle.

Never leave a baby or young child unattended in the bath, even just for a moment. This also applies when using bath seats as they have been known to tip over.

Paddling Pool Safety

Paddling pools are a great way to keep children cool in hot weather, but even two inches of water can pose a deadly risk to a child.

  • Never leave children unattended – remained focussed on the children and not distracted by other things. Drowning can happen in under 30 seconds. Remain close to the pool as possible in order to react quickly.
  • Drain all water out once children have finished playing in the pool and store it away or turn it over, so that it doesn’t fill with rain water.
  • Ensure children can’t fill a paddling pool, or other items, themselves by turning water off at the tap.
  • Water Safety at Home - Royal Life Saving Society UK

Beach Safety

Be aware of the weather forecast and tide times and look out for the flags on where it’s safe to swim. Teach your children Float to Live . Inflatable toys and airbeds can easily be swept out to sea.

It can be difficult to strike a balance between letting children take risks and explore new environments. Talk to children before you go about how the beach is different from where they usually play and discuss how you can stay safe together.

Open Water Safety

You can't always see the danger hidden below the waters surface. Water is unpredictable and even the strongest swimmers can get into trouble quickly.

In hot weather increasing numbers of children are putting themselves at risk from swimming in rivers, lakes, canals or reservoirs. It can be tempting to cool off in open waters, but there are many dangers, even for a strong swimmer.

Teenagers, especially boys, are at a higher risk of drowning due to risk taking and thrill-seeking behaviours.