Popular LV= KidZone scheme makes a welcome return to beaches ahead of the summer holidays

The popular LV= KidZone scheme that helps to prevent and reunite lost children and vulnerable adults on the seafront is making a welcome return once again.

LV= KidZone, which started in 2007, is run in partnership with BCP Council. This beach safety scheme provides essential support to the seafront team working in conjunction with Dorset Police and the RNLI. It has reunited hundreds of children and vulnerable adults who have become separated from their parents, guardians or carers, as well as aiming to reduce the incidence of them becoming lost in the first place.

Councillor Beverley Dunlop, Portfolio Holder for Tourism, Culture and Vibrant Places, BCP Council commented:

“Last year, led by our Multi Agency response, we successfully managed to reunite over 245 missing / found persons within an average time of 14 minutes thanks to these wristbands. We want to ensure everyone who comes to the beach has a safe and enjoyable day out and whilst people should always keep an eye on young children, these wristbands provide the extra peace of mind should they wonder off in that split second when you glance away, which is why they’re so important.”

From the 26 June up to (and including) 4 September, over 50,000 free waterproof wristbands which enable parents, guardians or carers to write their mobile number inside and attach to their child or vulnerable adult, will be handed out by specially trained LV= KidZone staff, seafront rangers and from RNLI beach lifeguard towers from Sandbanks through to Southbourne beach.

From 9 July, these wristbands will also be available from a seafront ranger or at a RNLI beach lifeguard tower on Friars Cliff, Avon and Highcliffe beaches.

If the child or vulnerable adult should wander off unnoticed and be reported as lost, the multi-agency control command centre will coordinate a set search procedure to locate the missing person, with these wristbands providing essential details to ensure they’re swiftly and safely reunited with their loved ones.

Signage detailing LV= KidZone, alongside prevention and action information for missing persons, will also be displayed in multiple ways along the promenade and Bournemouth pier.

Councillor Beverley Dunlop continued:

“With millions of visitors expected to our beautiful coastline this summer, these wristbands provide enormous peace of mind for families with young children and vulnerable adults and I’d encourage anyone visiting our coastline to come and collect a wristband before settling down for a day of fun on the beach.”

The dedicated LV= KidZone team will be in operation between Alum Chine and Boscombe on the following beaches:

•    Bournemouth: 26 June – 4 September (every day)      

•    Alum Chine: 16 July – 4 September (Friday – Monday)

•    Durley Chine: 16 July – 4 September (Friday – Monday)

•    Boscombe: 16 July – 4 September (Friday – Monday)

If anyone comes across a missing child or vulnerable adult, they are advised to report immediately to a member of the LV= KidZone team, a seafront ranger or RNLI Lifeguard who will be on hand to help.

Chief Superintendent Mark Callaghan, BCP and Seasonal Demand Commander for Dorset Police, said:

“The scheme is fantastic in helping police, council officials and other emergency services to reunite lost children and vulnerable adults with their families and carers. Sadly, we see a significant number of people reported missing on our busy beaches throughout the summer period, which can be a frightening experience for everyone involved.

“We would encourage parents and carers to collect a wristband, write their phone number on the back of it and take a picture of their loved ones that morning, so there is an accurate and up-to-date image of the person and what they’re wearing should they happen to wander off.

“Please ensure you contact the beach rangers, RNLI tower or police as soon as possible if someone goes missing.”

David Van Beirendonck, RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor commented:

“This wristband scheme is yet another reason to visit a lifeguarded beach. Our teams will be able to hand out wristbands to help keep the family safe, as well as give additional advice on how to have an enjoyable and safe day at the coast – for example advising to always swim between the red and yellow flags on a lifeguarded beach.”

Samantha Preece, Brand and Communications Director at LV= said:

“We’re delighted to once again sponsor the LV= KidZone beach safety scheme which helps to keep young children and vulnerable adults safe. Our seafront is becoming busier each year during the summer, and this scheme will give anyone visiting peace of mind. Please do pick up a wristband for your loved ones.”