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Be Water Aware

Do you and the children in your care know what to do if they fall into water unexpectedly? Do they know what to do if they are swimming or playing in water and find themselves out of depth or scared? Do they know what to do if they see someone else scared in the water?

The information and activities here can help you discuss water safety with the children in your care.

The Smith Family have had two adventures by the water: “Safe by the River” and “Safe by the Sea”

Cartoon image from the story "Safe by the River" of a water rescue team, saving a dog and two children.

Safe by the River: The family go for a walk to the river with Jack the dog and discover what to do when someone falls in. Use this story to discuss how to stay safe near water and what to do if someone gets scared in the water. Read by actress Zoe Wanamaker, CBE.



Cartoon image from the story "Safe by the sea" of lifeguards stood on the back of a truck reading "RNLI" on the beach, surrounded by a variety of flags..Safe by the Sea: The family go to the beach for the day with Grandma and Grandad and have lots of fun at the seaside. Use this story to discuss safe behaviour at the beach, including near cliffs and what to do if someone gets scared in the water. Read by Sharron Davies, MBE, Olympic swimmer.



If someone needs help in water call 999. If they are at the coast, ask for the coastguard, if they are inland (a river, lake, canal etc) ask for the fire and rescue service.

Watch Firefighter Ann show you how firefighters can help rescue people from the water Water Rescue Scenario – YouTube

The Lego firefighters are on a river rescue Stop Motion Water Rescue – YouTube. Can you use your toys to rescue another toy from the “river”?

Cartoon image of the character "Grandad" floating in water Remember: If you fall into water, or get scared when swimming you need to FLOAT.

Lie on your back so you can see the sky and put your arms and legs out like a star. Float and then when you feel calmer put our arm up and wave it about and shout for help.

Have a practice on the floor.


Cartoon cliff edge with "Falling Rocks" sign

If you are visiting the coast or somewhere with inland water such as a river, canal or lake it is important that you are aware of your surroundings such as cliffs and overhanging or weak banks.

Stay away from the tops and bottoms of cliffs, especially on the Jurassic coast.

A red flag, a black and white checkered flag, and a red and yellow flat on a beach.

If you are going to the beach to play in the water it is safer to go to a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags.

Never go into the water if there is a red flag.

To find lifeguarded beaches Lifeguarded Beaches – Find Your Nearest Lifeguarded Beach (rnli.org)


Cartoon image of the character "Grandad" jumping into the sea by a sign which reads "No jumping or diving".Always enter the water carefully. Don’t jump from rocks, harbour walls, piers etc. You don’t know how deep the water is, or what could be underneath the surface that could hurt you.

Walk into the water carefully and then have fun!


Cartoon image of "Grandad" with an inflatable turtle at the beachInflatables may seem fun, but they can easily be blow out to sea. It is much safer to use these in swimming pools. There are lots of other fun games you can play in the sea.




Cartoon image of a dog shaking off water Most dogs will be able to get out of the water by themselves.

If your dog can’t get out and is in danger, never go into the water as you are likely to end up in danger too.

Call 999 and ask for help.


Cartoon image of ambulance crews looking after a child who fell in the waterThe water can be very cold. If you fall into the water suddenly you can get “cold water shock”. It feels like your breath has been taken away. If this happens, float on your back looking at the sky until your body calms down.

If you can’t get to the beach, make your own in the home or garden. You could use blankets or sheets to make the ‘beach’ and the ‘water’ and use yogurt pots to make ‘sandcastles’ and then draw and cut out some sea creatures to go in the water.

Firefighter Paul shows you how to make a crab and a fish

Here are some activity sheets to use after watching Safe by the Sea and Safe by the River

Safe by the Water (Safe by the River and Safe by the Sea):

Tim and Lily and the family have had lots of other adventures which you can find here.

For more information and activities on water safety please visit

RNLI lower primary youth education resources (age 3–7).

Drowning Prevention Week | Home | Royal Life Saving Society UK ( RLSS UK )





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