Warning issued over bathing dangers

Reporter:

Helen Davies

RESIDENTS are being warned to take care when cooling off in rivers and lakes.

Following recent hot weather, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) is urging people to swim at supervised sites where possible.

Jordan Baker, a nine-year-old from Connah’s Quay, drowned while swimming in the river Dee in May last year.

Connah’s Quay councillor Aaron Shotton said: “I can’t stress enough the importance of parents teaching children to stay away from the River Dee. I hope the tragedy last year will help make local people aware how dangerous the river is.”

RoSPA advises people – particularly families with children who will be out with their friends – to take steps to prevent similar tragedies this year.

Peter Cornall, head of leisure safety at RoSPA, said: “Swimming at properly-supervised sites, such as beaches, lidos or swimming pools, is the best option, although we appreciate that not everyone can go to these locations.

“If you choose not to go to one of these properly supervised sites, we are keen to highlight again the danger that inland waters can pose for people who are not used to swimming there.”

Flint Coastguard Gary Jones said he would not advise anyone to swim in the Dee due to the tides and strong currents.

He said: “You could be walking in shallow water and then be swept into a deep pool created by the tide. That’s what happened to Jordan.

“He was walking along with his dad and all of a sudden the tide came in.”

Mr Cornall added: “When people go to the beach, they tend to be more respectful of the conditions and we urge people to think through similar risks inland and to make sure they know what to do if something goes wrong.”

He said that even on a hot day, water might be a lot colder than expected. There may also be strong currents and underwater debris that cannot be seen from the bank.

He added: “Consider how you are going to get out of the water once you are in it, be honest about your swimming ability and remember that alcohol and swimming never mix.”

Cllr Tony Sharps, Flintshire Council’s executive member for tourism, said the authority is improving footpaths and cycle ways by the Dee and including safety measures to counter the dangers.

See full story in the Leader

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