wild swimming water safety for parents and children

Splashing Water

Wild Swimming is great fun but just as children need to be taught road safety they also need education to stay safe in open water.

Children are naturally drawn to water, but they often don't see dangers. The following advice is provided so that adults can help their children avoid the risks that swimming can pose and keep safe whilst having fun in the water.

1 Parental example

As with all aspects of life parental example is crucial in teaching life's lessons. Wild Swimming is good for children. But the example adults set and the things parents do will stick with children. Actions speak louder than words.

2 Learn to swim well

Even good swimmers are not drown proof. Children who cannot swim well should wear a properly secured life jacket. Non swimmers, poor and intermediate swimmers should be within arms reach of a responsible adult at all times whilst swimming even in a swimming pool or on a beach with lifeguards. KEEP A CLOSE EYE ON YOUR CHILDREN. Don't wake up to tragedy!

Teach children how to swim!

5 Too deep - too shallow?

Is your child a good swimmer?

6 In and Out

Jum in to wild swimming!

Think about where you will get in and out. 

If there is a current or tide and you get swept along where you will get out then? Think it through before you swim.


Don't swim out too far!

7 Adujust to the cold

Many lidos have unheated water and on a hot summers day the temptation to strip off and jump in can be overwhelming. The shock of the cold water, can though, be dangerous. So get in slowly and let your body get used to the temperature. The same is true for open water or wild swimming. Don't stay in cold water for too long. Get out after a short time and warm up, or, wear a wet suit and stay in longer.

Keep children safe in open water

3 Don't swim alone

Take parents and friends with you. It is best to swim at well used public places rather than secret swimming spots.

4 Clean and clear

Does the water look clean? If not think twice before swimming, this applies equally to swimming pools. 

Stay away from weeds (the circular motions of swimming can lead to entanglement). Keep away from waterfalls and white water. 

The depth of water in swimming pools varies; you should never jump or dive in unless you have checked how deep it is, the same is true in open water. Make sure the landing area is deep enough and free of obstructions.

Be careful not to jump onto someone already in the water by mistake.


If the water is likely to be very deep and you are not a competent swimmer, wear a life jacket. 

Teach children lifesaving skills, because you can't allways be there with them!
Kids Playing in Water

Your choice: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information presented here, anyone who decides to swim in open water should remember that this, like other activities, is not entirely without risk. Neither the author nor the publishers will be held legally or financially responsible for any accident, injury, loss or inconvenience sustained as a result of the information or advice contained here.