Brit kids banned from paddling in water during school trips!

November 7th, 2009 - 5:40 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Nov 7 (ANI): Brit kids have been banned from paddling in water during school trips under new health and safety guidelines.

The students have been told they are not to wade into ankle-deep water unless teachers first carry out a full risk assessment and put “proper measures in place”.

The staff, on the other hand, is expected to check rivers, ponds and the sea for currents and rocks before allowing children to dip their feet.Guidance issued to schools warns that any “impromptu water-based activities” could pose dangers to children - including hypothermia.

But parents’ groups have branded the rule “ridiculous”, and it has prompted fresh concerns that children’s development risked being undermined by over-zealous health and safety regulations.

The recommendations were outlined in a document, which is available to all 21,000 schools in England, to help teachers organise more school trips.

Advice from the Department for Children, Schools and Families is intended to cut red tape, debunk health and safety “myths” and give staff practical tips.

But the guidance prompted controversy after teachers were presented with a series of edicts surrounding swimming and the use of minibuses.

“Swimming and paddling or otherwise entering the waters of river, canal, sea or lake should never be allowed as an impromptu activity,” the Telegraph quoted the document as stating.

“The pleas of young people to bathe - because it is hot weather, for example, or after a kayaking exercise - should be resisted where bathing has not been prepared for.

“In-water activities should take place only when a proper risk assessment has been completed and proper measures put in place to control the risks,” it stated.

Teachers are urged to check the weather, currents, weeds, rip tides, river or seabeds and breakwaters before allowing children into the water. No child should be able to swim deeper than waist height, the guidance added.

“Be aware of the dangerous effects of sudden immersion in cold water, also of the dangers of paddling, especially for children or in rough seas,” the document outlined.

“Wading out into the ocean is one thing but there’s nothing wrong with paddling where the waves break,” Margaret Morrissey, from campaign group Parents Outloud, said.

“Part of children’s learning is to walk along the water’s edge and get your feet wet. There are dangerous currents further out and you stay at the edge.

“I want to see schools and youth groups taking advantage of opportunities that learning outside the classroom can provide,” she added.

But the Department for Children, Schools and Families said teachers had to plan activities carefully.

“We are not banning paddling,” said a spokeswoman, adding: “we have seen cases in the past where things have not been planned and assessed for the risk. Unplanned activities around water can be dangerous.” (ANI)

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