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Re-think water safety this Drowning Prevention Week 2024

Posted 14th June 2024

In this guest blog, Matt Croxall, Charity Director at the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) writes about the alarmingly high rates in child drownings and the charity’s Drowning Prevention Week campaign, which seeks to educate more young children and families on the issue of water safety.

With England reporting an alarming increase in child drowning fatalities, RLSS UK is urging everyone to learn the Water Safety Code though its video animation as part of its annual Drowning Prevention Week campaign, taking place from 15-22 June 2024.

Targeted at young children and families, the national water safety education campaign aims to ensure as many people as possible are equipped with vital lifesaving knowledge to allow them to enjoy water safely this summer.

The alarming increase in tragic child drowning deaths in England highlights just how important it is that families are aware of the importance of water safety and have the correct knowledge to make the right decisions around water.

What does the data show?

Figures from the National Child Mortality Database show that accidental drowning deaths among children in England have doubled since 2019-20. We’ve seen a significant increase from 20 in 2019-20, to 41 in 2022-23. Tragically, a total of 125 children have accidentally lost their lives to drowning in the last four years.

We are urging parents to stay vigilant in, on and around water, both at home and when spending time outdoors and to have the water safety conversation with their children.

With warmer summer days on the horizon, we will inevitably see people flock to open water sites across the UK and Ireland, as well as taking opportunities to enjoy water at home in the garden. We want to ensure that everyone can enjoy water this summer by having the knowledge to do so safely.

More than half of child drownings occur in June, July and August, and Drowning Prevention Week works to equip families with the appropriate skills and knowledge to enjoy water safely during the summer months and beyond.

The impact of the campaign and our hopes to make a difference and save lives

During the 2023 campaign, RLSS UK materials and resources were used to educate over 1.85 million children in vital water safety knowledge and skills. For this year’s Drowning Prevention Week campaign, we are looking to educate even more young people on water safety, providing children with the skills to enjoy a lifetime of fun in the water.

Make use of our DPW resources and get involved! For Drowning Prevention Week, RLSS UK has a range of free new and updated educational resources available on its website for children, including lesson plans for schools and downloadable resources for parents, as well as an engaging video animation to support families in learning the Water Safety Code.

For more information around Drowning Prevention Week, please visit our website.

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