PARENTS in Darlington and County Durham have been urged to teach their children how to stay safe and enjoy water safely this summer.

The call comes as part of the Royal Life Saving Society UK's (RLSS UK) national Drowning Prevention Week campaign, and has been backed by the Darlington Open Water Safety Group.

Although accidental fatalities in the area have fallen over the last five years, a teenager tragically lost his life at Broken Scar, near Darlington, in August last year.

Over the last five years in County Durham a total of five males accidentally drowned in the county. 

The RLSS UK said 40% of the accidents happened in inland areas while 80% of the males didn't intend to be in the water at the time.

The charity is urging parents to access their free water safety resources on their website to teach their children the skills they need to enjoy a lifetime of fun in the water.

Read more: Mother who lost her son to drowning adds her voice to water safety campaign

Cllr Jonathan Dulston, deputy leader of Darlington Borough Council, speaking on behalf of the Water Safety Group, said:“Efforts are already being made to provide swimming lessons at the council’s Dolphin Centre to local children who may have missed out due to lockdown and we’re working with our partners to help raise awareness of the dangers when near water to help ensure another family does not lose a loved one from drowning.

“The RLSS UK Drowning Prevention Week is a timely reminder for parents, particularly with the summer holidays fast approaching, and we would encourage them to visit the website and access the water safety resources that are available so they and their families can enjoy themselves safely.”

The Northern Echo:

Throughout 2020 and 2021, millions of children have missed out on vital swimming, lifesaving skills and water safety education during the pandemic due to pool closures.

RLSS UK’s Charity Director Lee Heard, added: “Through free, accessible education and training, everyone can enjoy water safely, have fun in the water and develop an essential life skill.

"We urge as many parents and carers as possible to get involved with the campaign, use our free online resources, and give children the skills to enjoy a lifetime of fun in the water.”

Drowning Prevention Week takes place between 19-26 June.

Visit for more information.