Water fascinates young children and it can be a source of great fun and exercise but sadly each year we hear of children drowning at home and abroad.

Even the most caring of parents can become distracted and it only takes three minutes to drown face-down in water, so even if your children are only playing in a paddling pool or if you have a garden with a pond, always supervise them, and if you need to nip inside to answer the door or go to the toilet, take them with you.

The opportunity to swim in the sea or pool is one of the highlights of going on holiday with children, but before you go do check whether the pool has a lifeguard and once there make sure you understand local water safety signs. If you are going to the beach, it is worthwhile asking the hotel reception or tourist information officer which beach offers the safest place to swim. When you first get to a new pool, take a few minutes to check which end is the deep end and to find out if it has a life guard or pool attendant, as their duties differ.

Although children need constant supervision near water, they will be safer if they can swim and know how to get themselves out of difficulty, so book your child into swimming lessons as soon as you can.

The other danger in the summer comes from the sun. Exposing your child to too much sun may increase their risk of skin cancer later in life and in the short term sunburn can cause considerable pain and discomfort.

Tips to keep you child safe in the sun
• Encourage your child to play in the shade – for example, under trees – especially between 11am and 3pm, when the sun is at its strongest.
• Keep babies under the age of six months out of direct sunlight, especially around midday.
• Cover exposed parts of your child’s skin with sunscreen, even on cloudy or overcast days. Use one that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or above and is effective against UVA and UVB. Don’t forget to apply it to their shoulders, nose, ears, cheeks, and the tops of their feet. Reapply often throughout the day.
• Be especially careful to protect your child’s shoulders and the back of their neck when they’re playing, as these are the most common areas for sunburn.
• Cover your child up in loose cotton clothes, such as an oversized T-shirt with sleeves.
• Get your child to wear a floppy hat with a wide brim that shades their face and neck.
• Protect your child’s eyes with sunglasses that meet the British Standard (BSEN 1836:2005) and carry the ‘CE’ mark – check the label.
• If your child is swimming,
use a waterproof sunblock of factor 15 or above. Reapply
after towelling.

Information taken from www.nhs.uk