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Parents Urged to Keep Children Safe Near Water, 21/06/10

As Child Safety Week starts, parents are being urged to keep their children safe around water. Young children can drown in as little as 3cm of water and this can happen very quickly and very quietly.  However it can easily be prevented and child safety experts at Children in Wales are urging parents to supervise small children near ponds, and ensure that paddling pools are always emptied at night. 

Karen McFarlane, Child Safety Officer at Children in Wales explains “While children should definitely be encouraged to play outside in the warm weather, and enjoy water games and paddling pools, parents and carers need to be aware about the potential dangers they can pose.   Garden ponds are becoming increasingly common but they are responsible for roughly two thirds of the drowning incidents for under fives.  Families and carers with garden ponds should, where possible fill them in, otherwise ensure that they have a properly  fitted  secure grate or guard and  are fenced off so that children can’t get to them.   Parents need to be particularly watchful when visiting friends or relatives who might have ponds in their garden.”

“Paddling pools are a great source of fun for children , but even with a small amount of water in them parents and carers of young children need to stay vigilant.   Many of the accidents that occur with paddling pools happen when they have been left out at night and children run into them the morning after. So even when they are not in use, they should always be emptied.  Fortunately, not all drowning incidents are fatal, but they can still cause serious and disabling injuries, ranging from brain damage to spinal problems.    Prevention only takes a few moments –  empty your paddling pool after every single use and supervise young children around water…”

Notes

1.            Children in Wales is the national umbrella organisation for voluntary, statutory and professional organisations and individuals who work with children and young people in Wales. www.childreninwales.org.uk.  Children in Wales was established in March 1992 and became a registered charity in 1993.  It aims to promote the interests of children, to improve services in Wales and to put children high on the Welsh agenda.  We work closely with our members who comprise professionals, policy makers and consumer groups to improve the lives of all children living in Wales, but especially young children, those affected by family instability, children with special needs or disabilities, and those suffering the effects of poverty and deprivation.  We collect and disseminate information about children and promote good practice in children’s services through research, policy and practice development, publications, conferences, seminars, training and access to an extensive library and information service.  Children in Wales has offices in Cardiff and Caernarfon.

2.            Child Safety Report Cards providing an international comparison of child safety measures being taken across different European Countries was published last May 2009.  Wales rated particularly low on water safety and drowning prevention measures.

3.            In February 2009 Children in Wales has produced an action plan, “Working Towards a Child Safety Strategy for Wales”, on reducing child accidents in Wales

For further information regarding this press release contact: Karen McFarlane atChildren in Wales, 25 Windsor Place, Cardiff, Tel: 029 2034 2434, E-mail: karen.mcfarlane@childreninwales.org.uk