Understandably, natural curiosity will draw children to these places, as they appear to be exciting places to explore. However, despite their appearance as potential playgrounds, they can have hidden hazards.  

People may swim well in a warm indoor pool, but that does not mean they will be able to swim in cold water.  

Why Is It Important to Be Safe in the Water?

Fish are able to live and breathe in water, but people need air to breathe. People drown when too much water gets into their lungs. When that happens, the lungs can't put oxygen in the blood. Then, too little oxygen gets to the brain and the rest of the body.

Drowning is the second most common cause of death from injuries among children under the age of 14. Drowning can happen so fast — sometimes in less than 2 minutes after a person's head goes under the water. That leaves very little time for someone to help.

Many drownings and near-drownings happen when a child accidentally falls into reservoirs or swimming pools. But accidents can happen anywhere — at someone's home or even at your own house, and that's why you need to know how to be safe around water

The dangers of water include:  

  • very cold temperatures, even in warm weather the water can be colder than expected
  • hidden currents: there can be strong underwater currents, which can trouble even the most confident of swimmers
  • reservoirs are often very deep: it is difficult to estimate depth and they can be deeper than people expect
  • there may be hidden debris or underwater hazards which can cause injury, including weeds and plants, which can entangle people under the water
  • it can be very difficult to get out (steep slimy banks)
  • there are no lifeguards on duty 

The remoteness of some of these places can also hamper and delay rescue attempts, should such a need arise. 

Tips on staying safe 

  • don’t climb on barriers and fences: they are there to protect people from serious injury and accidents around construction sites
  • obey ‘danger’ signs: reservoirs and treatment works can be dangerous places, so stay well away
  • stay away from trenches and open manholes: they are dirty, deep and may contain hazardous gases
  • keep clear of equipment: don’t be tempted to touch diggers, lorries, pipes and other equipment