Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death for children in the UK, with statistics showing that 115 young people aged between 12 and 18 have lost their lives in the last four years, The Royal Life Saving Society UK ( RLSS UK) says.
As part of Drowning Prevention Week, Northamptonshire Sport is working with schools across the county to deliver education to help reduce the number of accidental drownings that happen each year in the UK.
Pupils from 85 primary schools, who are due to take part in normal practical swimming lessons during the week, will benefit from the inclusion of water safety element being delivered to help the children understand the dangers of open water and how to stay safe.
The main event will be delivered in partnership with the Nene Whitewater Centre on Wednesday, June 21 and will involve fifty Year 7 students from five different secondary schools, which will involve Northants Fire and Rescue, RLSS UK, Swimming Teachers Association and RNLI.
Tina Collett of the Prevention Team at Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “Knowing how to stay safe in and around water is vital at any time of year, but particularly so in summer.
"Our demonstrations will be a great way for students to understand the risks posed by open water and how to avoid them.
"We will also be emphasising the importance of calling 999 for help if someone is in trouble in the water, and what you can do from the bank rather than entering the water and risking becoming a casualty as well. Drowning Prevention Week is a brilliant initiative, promoting lifesaving messages, and is one we’re proud to support.”
The Hilton Hotel in Northampton has, with the support of Northamptonshire Sport, already distributed a teacher's pack to these schools to encourage schools to register and deliver activities in schools in the lead up to the summer holiday.
In addition to the teacher packs, Hilton Northampton staff will accompany and support delivery of classroom based activities within eight primary schools.
During these sessions two classes from each school will be taught about the SAFE code, to enable them to keep themselves safe when near open water.
The students will gain an understanding of the dangers of open water, learn CPR and safe rescues without putting themselves in danger.
As part of the day, the students will have the opportunity to experience open water in a safe and controlled way.
The campaign also aims to raise money for the Royal Life Saving Society’s drowning prevention programmes, including supporting families who have been affected by drowning or near drowning.
Drowning Prevention Week kickstarts from 16 June and finishes 26 June.