No hot, sunny holiday is complete without a cooling dip in a crystal clear pool. A holiday staple, a good pool is a feature many holidaymakers base their break around, whether they’re after a morning swim, midday cool down, or all-day play.
However, while swimming is the perfect family activity, great for teaching kids their first lessons in water fun and safety, it can be a very dangerous activity. There are many considerations that travellers old and young should always be aware of around swimming pools and large bodies of water.
Sadly, figures collected over the past six years and published by The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) have shown that an average of five children drown every year in swimming pools abroad, and that incidents are far from uncommon.
Most accidents happened in hotel pools, though a third are in holiday villas. Toddlers were identified by the report as being most at risk – and often accidents occurred during the first or last day of trips, as their parents were distracted by packing. In holiday villas incidents were most likely to happen in the morning as children went out for an unsupervised swim while their parents were still asleep.
Secure fencing around a pool is the most obvious solution to reduce a tragic holiday incident in the swimming pool.
When booking your accommodation check the safety provisions of the hotel, villa or campsite you are booking to see if it will be suitable for your children. If it’s a public pool see if there are qualified lifeguards on duty – often poolside staff at hotels have no safety training or knowledge of rescue or resuscitation.
If you have access to a private pool then find out if it is secured by a fence or gate. Also if you are planning on putting your children into any activity clubs then find out the level of training of the staff taking care of them, particularly if they are going to be taking part in water activities.
It is also a good idea to make your children aware of any potential poolside risks, explaining the importance of staying away from the edge and not running around the side of the swimming pool. Making children aware of the dangers can help them to understand why they shouldn’t do certain things or go exploring near the pool alone.
A very sensible idea would be to learn some basic life-saving skills of your own so that you feel in control with some basic knowledge should an incident occur. St John Ambulance run a number of different courses, some of which are geared specifically to caring for children or families, which cover resuscitation as well as general advice
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