A LEADING accident prevention charity is urging parents to speak to their children about the dangers of swimming in open water ahead of the hot weather expected during the summer holidays.

Although it can be very hot, the temperature of open water will still be low, and those tempted to cool off with a swim may get into difficulties with cold water shock.

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Cold water shock can affect even the strongest swimmers, and every year hundreds of people drown in open water at the coast and at inland waterways such as canals, rivers and lochs.

Elizabeth Lumsden, community safety manager for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) in Scotland, said: “The main danger when swimming in open water is cold water shock, which affects your ability to breathe, overwhelms your ability to swim, and leads to drowning.

“Other dangers include currents and hidden objects below the surface.”

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