Swedish rescue service to distracted parents: Watch your swimming kids, not your phones!

The Local Sweden
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Swedish rescue service to distracted parents: Watch your swimming kids, not your phones!
A clip from the viral video. Screen shot: Södra Älvsborgs Räddningstjänstförbund/Facebook

The Rescue Service of Södra Älvsborg (SÄRF) in western Sweden is being both hailed and criticised on Facebook for a light-hearted campaign meant to draw attention to a serious problem.


According to the Swedish Life Saving Society (Svenska Livräddningssällskapet - SLS), five children drowned in Sweden during May and June, equalling the number of kids who drowned throughout all of last summer. Overall drownings are also up, with 62 drowning deaths throughout the first six months of the year compared to 55 in the same period last year. 
While the rescue services don’t say that the child drownings are a direct result of inattentive parents, SÄRF decided to draw attention to the dangers of getting lost in one’s smartphone while at the beach. 
In a video posted to Facebook, SÄRF encourages parents to lay down their phones and instead focus their attention on their swimming children.
The 90-second video shows two male rescue workers approaching sunbathers at a lakeside beach. After strapping on bum bags, donning their sunglasses and then stopping to apply sunscreen (although strangely on just one arm each), the two strapping rescue workers rip the phones out of the hands of mums who are seemingly more interested in their social media feeds than their children’s safety. 
“Leave your mobile in your bag while on the beach. Give children in and near the water your full attention this summer,” the video states, adding the hashtag #tittapåmig, or “look at me”. 
The video has been viewed over 200,000 times since being posted to Facebook on Friday. While the video was positively received in general, it did face backlash for only featuring distracted mothers. 
“Were there no fathers with children on the beach? Or did you choose in 2018 to only feature mothers? Do you think it is only mothers who look at their phones and not their children? Otherwise, a good message!”  one popular comment read. 
SÄRF responded that the video simply reflects who was actually at the beach that day. 
“Unfortunately we did not have the opportunity to film over multiple days and on the day we visited this beach, that’s what the gender distribution looked like. We naturally hope that all adults with children will heed this message and let their phones lay on the beach,” the SÄRF Facebook account wrote. 


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