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RLSS UK's Drowning Prevention Week pledges to target the thousands of terrifying near-drowning accidents each year

Written by Samantha Lade, Donr

Published on Wednesday, 20th June 2018

RLSS UK's Drowning Prevention Week pledges to target the thousands of terrifying near-drowning accidents occurring each year

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 A&E as a result of non-fatal drowning incidents, also known as a 'near-drowning', with thousands more occurring in Scotland and Wales.

RLSS is now 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.

Di Steer, CEO for RLSS UK, 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. He 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 others carried out stomach compressions.

Reuben began breathing again, and after being checked over at a local hospital, 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 of what happened and what might have been, if it wasn't for knowing basic lifesaving skills.

'I urge parents 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 continued: 'Our Drowning Prevention Week campaign aims to get everyone talking about water safety.

'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 will see hundreds of leisure centres, schools, businesses and youth groups utilising RLSS UK's water safety resources in their communities.

For more information about the week, please visit the RLSS UK website.