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Speedo Says...

Date 27-11-2017


Make sure you and your family stop, look and be safe outdoors

Wrapping up for walks with family, friends or pets is a wonderful way to enjoy the great outdoors when the colder climate hits.

Most of us are aware of water safety risks in the summertime, as we enjoy swimming at the beach or the use of paddling pools at home, but have you considered how everyday factors could pose dangers to your family when it is cold weather?

In cold weather, children and pets are particularly at risk when tempted to play on the ice formed on open water, in turn meaning many adults can find themselves at risk in attempting to save them.

Areas with frozen water such as lakes, ponds and canals can look especially beautiful on a cold and crisp wintery day with many people under false pretences of how thick, and strong, the ice is.

Cold-water shock also affects our ability to swim and self-rescue, meaning it is responsible for many drownings each year. Of course, many people do enjoy the benefits of outdoor cold-water swimming but this should only be through organised swimming groups and in safe locations. You should always make sure you can enter and exit the water quickly and easily, wear the appropriate kit to help preserve body heat and never jump or dive into the water.

Drowning Prevention charity, the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) has these useful tips to help you know what to do in an emergency.

  • Teach children not to go near or onto ice under any circumstances

  • Keep pets on leads around ice

  • Never try to retrieve objects from on the ice, such as a misplaced ball, the risk of falling into the ice-cold water is too great


  1. Ask someone else to call 999 (or do this yourself if you are alone)

  2. Keep yourself safe and back from the edge

  3. Call-out to the casualty, reassure them, and instruct them to move to safety going back the way they came if they can, or stay at the surface by resting their arms on the ice

  4. If available, throw something buoyant to them, such as a life-ring, empty bottle, or football. Or, if you are able to reach out to them using something like a walking stick/pole, umbrella, or item of clothing, then do so.


  1. Make sure the ambulance is on its way

  2. Lay the casualty down in a sheltered area, and wrap them in blankets or dry clothing

  3. If they are able to swallow easily, give them high energy food or drinks (warm not hot)

  4. Make sure that they go to hospital, even if they seem to recover.


  1. Keep calm and shout for ‘help’

  2. Spread your arms across the surface of the ice in front of you

  3. If the ice is strong enough, kick your legs to slide onto the ice

  4. Lie flat and pull yourself towards the bank

  5. If the ice breaks, work your way to the bank breaking the ice in front of you

  6. If you cannot climb out, keep shouting for help. To preserve your body heat, press your arms against your body and keep your legs together. Keep your head clear of the water

  7. Once you are safe, go to hospital immediately for a check up