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To let my child swim in the great outdoors?

(67 Posts)
MrsMeg Sat 03-Aug-13 20:26:20

So many tragic deaths this year in rivers and quarry's. it's so so bloody sad.

The advice from the authorities seems to be consistent with people being told to stay away. But I think this is wrong - human beings always have and always will be attracted to outdoor swimming - it's one of the most natural things in the world surely?

Instead of simply telling people not to do it, shouldn't we be educating people how to do it safely?

Would be interested to hear people's thoughts, particularly non-Brits.

Is outdoor swimming on the continent the norm? What about in Australia?

My son (14) has had an amazing summer swimming with his friends in the Thames (at Lechlade, not in London!)

It's not without risk and of COURSE I worry but am I being unreasonable letting him continue?

Any outdoor swimmers care to comment?

calopene Sat 03-Aug-13 20:29:00

The benefits outweigh the risks - it is healthy and exhilarating and will give him such positive memories . Balanced against a small risk of drowning.

Khaleasy Sat 03-Aug-13 20:30:43

I think if you believe he is being safe and taking necessary precautions then its fine.
Maybe you could send him on a first aid course? He'd learn how to perform CPR which could be invaluable

kali110 Sat 03-Aug-13 20:31:49

I used to swim in sea when i was little. My dad was around. He used to take me out in a little blow up dingy. One of my favourite memories of childhood

YoniBottsBumgina Sat 03-Aug-13 20:35:48

I think it's fine that the advice is to stay away. It means that people who want to do it might take it a bit more seriously and do some research/take more care before assuming it is harmless. There are more risks to swimming in natural water with currents and tides than there are in pools built for the purpose of swimming. And, a lot of people just lack common sense and don't think about this.

FrogsGoWhat Sat 03-Aug-13 20:37:56

As long as they are aware of the dangers - no jumping in off bridges etc, no jumping in without knowing how cold it is below the top few inches (slowly go in the first time each day), being aware of danger spots and currents etc - then fine!

FrogsGoWhat Sat 03-Aug-13 20:39:18

Oh and make sure they know where the lifebelts are etc, or at least carry a large sealed empty bottle with a small string handle attached!

CheeseFondueRocks Sat 03-Aug-13 20:39:43

Totally normal to swim in lakes and some rivers, plus the sea in the North in Germany.

Bumply Sat 03-Aug-13 20:42:38

This article
was interesting although fidnt agree with it all

I've swum on glacier fed rivers, where it took ages to get in the water but I was then fine, albeit nearly lost the feeling in my legs at times.

The sudden shock I got when capsizing a dinghy off Cornish coast was a totally different story. Definitely the hyperventilating gasping mentioned in the comments section of that article. Very glad for my life jacket u set those circumstances.

honeytea Sat 03-Aug-13 20:43:33

YANBU, I live in Sweden and swimming in the local lake is a highlight of the summer, there are big towers built for people to jump from. I grew up in Devon and we went swimming in the sea throughout the year even when there were very big waves, it was great fun!

Yes people die occasionally when swimming in lakes/rivers/the sea. people also die in cars, should we ban them? Sensible strong swimmers are unlikely to die swimming in a calm bit of water.

Bumply Sat 03-Aug-13 20:43:33

NoComet Sat 03-Aug-13 20:45:53

DH swam in the sea a lot and the river occationally and I swam in my local river a lot and the sea occasionally.

DMIL still swam in the river or sea all her life. She made a point of swimming every New Year's Day (yes in Britain) and yes DMIL was wonderfully eccentric grin

My DDs generally don't get much wild swimming in Britain because we don't have anywhere near by, but I wouldn't stop them. DD1 has done enough water sports to be well aware it's cold when you fall in.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Sat 03-Aug-13 20:47:09

Around my way, alcohol is implicated in a lot of water deaths - teens getting drunk, and then thinking a swim sounds like a good idea.

I think the other issue is ignorance. Like outdoor pursuits in general people just aren't aware of the dangers of water any more.

Bring back those terrifying films you used to be shown in primary school!

WandaDoff Sat 03-Aug-13 20:47:21

My DSS drowned in Loch Lomond at the age of 14, when he was swimming with his mates.

So the answer from me would be no.

FrogsGoWhat Sat 03-Aug-13 20:47:56

Yeah - what I said - enter slowly the first time!

FrogsGoWhat Sat 03-Aug-13 20:49:11

I'm sorry WandaDoff sad

surroundedbyblondes Sat 03-Aug-13 20:49:22

Where we live, in Sweden, it is very normal to swim in lakes and in the sea. DD1 has friends of 5 years old who swim outdoors without armbands. She is a little more cautious and still had armbands this summer but we have absolutely been out and swum several times this summer. Always under supervision of course and at recognised swimming areas. It is one of the pleasures of the summer over here smile

Areyoumadorisitme Sat 03-Aug-13 20:49:42

Knowing someone who drowned in the Thames aged 17 has rather put me off swimming in rivers (I too was 17 at the time). My eldest DC is only 12 but I have already warned him about swimming in rivers. Our local river is similar size to the Thames and there is no way I'd let him swim in it. If there was a safe lake nearby I would perhaps consider that but river currents are too strong.

MrsMeg Sat 03-Aug-13 20:50:52

I'm so sorry Wanda sad that is terrible.

Thatssofunny Sat 03-Aug-13 20:54:08

Agree with Cheese, it's absolutely normal. I've been swimming in rivers, lakes and the sea in Germany, France and Spain. Never had an issue. HOWEVER, I was able to swim from the age of 5 and had basic knowledge of water safety and rescue procedures from the age of 6. I had been taught about currents (and how to try and get out of them) and the dangers of jumping into shallow water.

I teach lifeguarding to children of primary age, and I think once they know what possible dangers are and how to keep themselves and other safe, they can make better choices. It's not about removing all risks in life, it's about educating children about them, so that they can help themselves, if they get into trouble.

We live close to the beach and sometimes I really cannot understand how little common sense some people seem to have. shock

dementedma Sat 03-Aug-13 20:55:40

We all learned to swim in the chilly north sea as children. I'm not a particularly strong swimmer though so don't go out very far these days.

filee777 Sat 03-Aug-13 20:56:52

I used to love swimming in the river as a child and will defintely be taking the boys river swimming when they are older.

MrsMeg Sat 03-Aug-13 20:59:09

Surroundedbyblonds - is there more 'awareness' in Sweden? re water safety?

What kind of provision in school etc?

I think due to cut backs in the UK, swimming tuition is being pushed to one side and even then, information re swimming outdoors is non- existent.

My neighbour has just returned from 10 years in Australia and according to her outdoor swimming is more common-place and kids expected to master freestyle with bi-lateral breathing by age 12.

Given that we are an Island (and a small one at that), I'm surprised that more isn't being done to teach our kids to swim safely.

littlemisswise Sat 03-Aug-13 21:02:43

My DC are strong swimmers. I still wouldn't want them to swim in rivers, tbh. They are too unpredictable. If they got into distress there is the potential for them to drag innocent people into a situation that could put their lives at risk and ultimately they could all lose their lives.

I don't think the experience of swimming in a river is worth a life.

kali110 Sat 03-Aug-13 21:10:08

Bumply i know the feeling! I went on a pgl when i was 13 and capsized from my kayake in the lake . The shock! I was froze. I was also thankfull for the life jacket if i hadnt havve been wearing it i would have drown.

Went to spain last year. Im not best swimmer but i swam in the sea. Liad of little kids were too. Think its fine as long as theyre supervised.

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