A MOTHER has warned of the hidden dangers of letting children play in the county’s rivers after her son’s foot was cut so badly he needed to be taken to A&E.

The woman, who did not want to be named, said her family had been at Oxford's Angel and Greyhound Meadow, opposite Magdalen College, last week when two of her children were hurt in the River Cherwell.

She said: “Our family, as many others, have been enjoying the lovely river walks and meadows during lockdown. As the weather warmed up we noticed people swimming in the river running through the Angel and Greyhound Meadow in St Clements.

“It looked lush and scenic and one hot day last week my daughter leaped in. My son followed suit a few minutes later but jumped immediately out.”

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She said his foot was 'pouring with blood' from a 'nasty' 3cm cut which was serious enough he needed to be taken to hospital.

She added: "When my daughter came out the river she discovered her feet were also bleeding from unknown hazardous objects on the riverbed.

“We were able to warn off the next group of swimmers who were approaching as we were leaving but it’s important for people to know that this area is hazardous for swimming.”

Oxford City Council said while the city's waterways are a 'fantastic' resource this case highlighted their hidden dangers and the authority continued to urge people not to take unnecessary risks.

A statement from the authority said: “Every year, we work with our partners in the Oxford Water Safety Group – which includes the emergency services and the Royal Life Saving Society – to promote the Wild Water Code and to raise awareness of the risks of being around the water.

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“There are very high risks of injury when jumping from bridges or high places and you can never see the hidden hazards beneath the surface, and even wading barefoot can cause injury – from broken glass to discarded needles."

It added: "While the weather may be warm outside, deep water is often much colder and can rapidly cause cold water shock and fatigue, leading to serious difficulties. We know it is hard with leisure facilities closed at present, but until swimming pools reopen, we ask people to avoid entering the waters across the city. We want everyone to enjoy time outside, but to do so safely.”

It comes after Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service issued a warning last week about the potentially fatal consequences of jumping into cold open swimming, with drowning amongst the leading causes of accidental death in the UK.

The service's chief fire officer Rob MacDougall said: “The advice is to expect the unexpected when you are in the water.

“The shock of cold water will make your muscles become weaker; and you may not be able to keep yourself afloat or pull yourself out.Your body will shiver, which will affect your swimming ability.”