Today marks the launch of a hard-hitting NHS campaign aimed at keeping children safe over the summer and help to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities in those under the age of 18.
‘Stay Safe this Summer’ is a plea to parents and children to be aware of the dangers that they face and to take steps to avoid preventable incidents.
Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) created the campaign which will focus on a different theme every week and feature in all social media.
“Summer is an ideal time to enjoy the outdoors – especially given the pandemic and now that lockdown restrictions have eased,” says Dr Will Taylor, local GP and Deputy Chief Medical Officer at NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCG. “But there are many risks to children, at home and outside, that often result in serious injuries and sadly, in some case, even death.”
“We want parents to talk to their children and make sure they are aware of the potential dangers. It’s also important that parents know what to do if something does happen.”
Seasonal trends at this time of year are water-related and falls from height. But there are many more that could be avoided and also help reduce the pressure on the NHS during an already challenging time. The themes covered in the campaign are:
- Water safety
- Falls from height
- Abandoned and derelict buildings
- Railway lines
- Road safety
- Stranger danger
- Online grooming
- Button batteries (choking hazards)
The campaign kicks off with water safety called ‘The sun’s hot – the water is not!’
Every year, in the UK, around 700 people die from drowning as a result of an accident in or around water. Children drown both at home and on holiday because they don’t take simple precautions, so reaching parents and children with water safety messages is vital.
71% of the world is water – and children are 100% curious. Many children survive drowning events but are left with severe, and often permanent, life-changing injuries.
Jayden Beaven was four years old when he suffered a non-fatal drowning event in a swimming pool at a friend’s house. This resulted in a sustained and catastrophic brain injury due to a lack of oxygen.
Jayden’s nan Lesley said: “We weren’t there and we don’t know what happened. At some point it looks like he slipped away from everyone. Somebody saw a pair of shoes in the pool and when they went to check it out, they realised it was Jayden.
“Because he was without oxygen for so long, he has been left in a persistent vegetative state. He’s in a wheelchair now. He can’t walk or talk, and needs help with everything and 24-hour care. He can’t be left alone. He communicates to us through noises so we know what he likes and doesn’t like."
Jayden's family are now supporters of the RLSS UK and are helping to raise awareness of the importance of water safety education and supporting campaigns to increase the public's knowledge of the risks of drowning.
One of the biggest mistakes people make – especially children and young people is under estimating the temperature of the water and also the hazards beneath the surface in rivers, lakes and canals. The RNLI has called for children to be taught about the dangers of cold water shock as figures suggest the number of young people accidentally drowning rose by almost a quarter last year.
It wants the dangers of cold water shock to be raised in swimming lessons, and during personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) lessons.
Cold water shock can affect breathing and movement – even among strong and confident swimmers. Anything below 15C is defined as cold water, and the shock can be the precursor to drowning.
Here are some tips for helping to stay safe around water:
- Make sure you and your family can swim, be water confident, and have water safety skills
- Don’t be tempted to cool off in open water when it’s hot
- Be smart and only swim at lifeguarded beaches and pools
- Use your awareness and knowing how to avoid key water-safety hazards; such as rip tides, strong currents and cold-water
- Deal with hazards in and around the home such as ponds, baths, paddling and swimming pools
- Know what to do in an emergency
“We want people to enjoy the water safely, so please help to avoid another tragic summer this year by spreading this water safety advice far and wide.”
The CCG has designed a toolkit which has been shared with its partners across the region and some useful resources for parents plus child friendly information to help drive home the message.
Next week the focus of the campaign will be all about falls from height.