Water safety plea to parents

Published Friday, 16th June 2017
Lake at Thrybergh Country Park
Thrybergh Country Park

Rotherham Council is urging parents to remind children of the dangers of swimming in open water as more hot weather is forecast.

Children may be tempted to cool off by taking a dip in the nearest lake or river. However, they may not be aware that if they do this they are putting their lives at risk.

Rotherham Council is reminding people that such areas are not designed for swimming and the water can be deep and cold with unpredictable currents. Submerged objects can also be a hazard, as well as pollution and micro-organisms such as Weil’s disease, spread by rats.

In addition to these hazards, with no-one supervising these places, help may not be on hand should anyone get into difficulties. Even people who feel they are strong swimmers can be at extreme risk.

Earlier this year South Yorkshire’s first “throwline station” was opened at Ulley Country Park by a mum whose teenage son died in a drowning incident.

Rebecca Ramsey launched the water safety campaign “Doing it for Dylan” following the tragedy in 2011 which resulted in the death of her son Dylan (13), and aims to raise awareness of the dangers of open water swimming.

Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Waste, Roads and Community Safety, Cllr Emma Hoddinott, stressed the dangers involved and urged people to visit their local leisure centre or water play area instead.

She said: “Dylan’s story shows that even the strongest of swimmers can get into difficulty in open water, due to unpredictable dangers and hidden obstructions under the water.

“Young people may want to cool down in hot weather, but stretches of open water are not safe for swimming. Cold water and dangerous currents can mean that people get into trouble very quickly, even if they are a strong swimmer.

“I would urge people to look at a safer alternative - Rotherham has four modern indoor swimming pools and Clifton Park has a fantastic water splash area where children and young people can cool down in a safe environment,” she added.

Rotherham’s four leisure centres are all staffed to a high standard by fully qualified and trained lifeguards and are the safest place to swim or cool off in the summer months. The pools offer a wide variety of activity programmes for people of all ages and abilities.

Find out more on the Leisure webpage

To read more about Dylan’s story and the unveiling of the throwline station at Ulley:

Go to the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue website