With school summer holidays now underway, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is urging parents and carers to keep an eye on their children at all times when at the beach during the summer months.
Last year, children accounted for two-thirds of the incidents that RNLI lifeguards responded to, including 836 children who went missing or were found wandering before being returned to their parents by the RNLI lifeguards. These statistics have prompted the charity to renew its calls for people to make their children’s safety a priority at the seaside this summer.
Kelly Keating, RNLI Beach Safety Programmes Manager, says: ‘It’s worrying that the number of incidents involving children is consistently high – each year children account for around two-thirds of the incidents RNLI lifeguards respond to.
‘With the summer holidays upon us, we know children in particular want to have fun at the beach, but it’s important that they have fun safely. We are urging parents and carers to be mindful of how quickly a child can get into trouble or go missing on a busy beach.
‘We’re offering some basic advice, which we hope people will bear in mind to help keep themselves and their families safe at the beach.’
The RNLI’s top tips to help people keep their children safe at the seaside:
- Choose a lifeguarded beach and stay in the area between the red and yellow flags – this is the safest area as it is the area monitored closely by the lifeguards.
- Keep your children nearby and watch them closely, especially when in or near the water.
- While in the water, stay close to the shore and always swim or play between the red and yellow flags.
- Never let your child swim alone.
- If inflatables are used in the sea, they should only be used between the red and yellow flags and never taken out in big waves or strong winds.
Kelly adds some final advice:
‘Children are safest when supervised. As soon as you get to the beach, agree a meeting point in case of separation. If the beach runs a child safety scheme, using wristbands or tickets, take part. If your child does go missing, calmly check your surroundings, making sure other children under your supervision remain monitored. Contact the lifeguards or police and keep them informed, and let all searchers know once the child has been found.’
There are more than 330 lifeguarded beaches around the coasts of the UK and RoI. To find your nearest lifeguarded beach, visit www.goodbeachguide.co.uk.
For more information on beach safety, visit www.rnli.org.uk/beachsafety. The RNLI’s beach safety guide, On The Beach, is available free-of-charge from email@example.com or by calling 0800 328 0600.
Notes to editors
- RNLI spokespeople are available for interview or comment. Please contact RNLI Public Relations on the numbers below.
- A photo of an RNLI lifeguard advising a child on the beach is attached. Please credit RNLI.
RNLI media contacts
For more information, please contact Laura Fennimore, RNLI Public Relations Officer, on 01202 663181 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, contact RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789 or email email@example.com.