The dangers of Cold Water Shock

With the school holidays nearly upon us it is important that both children and adults are aware of the dangers of Cold Water Shock, with figures showing around 25-30 young people under 20 drowning in the UK each year. The summer months are often the most dangerous, with 103 accidental drownings across all age groups in June to August 2018.

Cold Water Shock, which can affect breathing and movement and cause heart attacks, even in the relatively young and healthy, is one of the biggest causes of drowning and can take hold when people enter cold seas, rivers, lakes and reservoirs.

Anything below 15°C is defined as cold water. Average UK and Ireland sea temperatures are just 12°C, under half the temperature of an average swimming pool. Rivers such as the Thames are colder – even in the summer. For further advice see the RNLI website.

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