With the school holidays almost upon us, many of us will be heading off on holiday in the UK or abroad. Soaking up the sun and enjoying a swim in the pool is sure to be top of the agenda, but water safety must always be a primary concern.
If you are travelling abroad, always be aware of the potential dangers of water. Remember that young children are most at risk and extra care should be taken to protect them from drowning. Adults need to be vigilant when a child is in or near a swimming pool. Toddlers can easily fall into an unsupervised pool and older children can quickly get into difficulty whilst swimming.
Many hotel pools abroad may not have lifeguards on duty and, if you are staying in a private villa, then you are responsible for supervision around the water!
There are many key points to consider regarding water safety and RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) offers this expert advice:
Before you go:
- Check the safety arrangements in advance
- Teach children never to swim alone
- Be cautious about booking villas that do not have safety fencing
- Take a first aid course – know how to resuscitate a child
- Ask your travel company if the hotel pool has a lifeguard
When you are there:
- Actively supervise all young children near water
- Choose pools that are fenced with locking gates
- Even if a pool has a lifeguard – know where your children are, and what they are doing in the water
- Inflatables are not a substitute for supervision or swimming ability
Water safety rules for children:
- Never swim alone
- Do not dive into unknown depths of water, and only jump feet first into water
- Do not push or jump onto others
- Know where to get help in an emergency
But, it is not just pool safety abroad which should be considered. How about water safety in the UK? According to the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), around 400 people drown each year in the UK and the hotter summer months typically see a spike in the number of deaths.
RLSS UK’s Deputy Director of Education and Research, Mike Dunn, said the charity wants people to enjoy the weather and water – safely. He said: “Open water sites, such as quarries and rivers, have many unseen dangers, like strong currents and extreme temperatures, that can catch even the best swimmers unawares and the sea has unique hazards of its own.”
The RLSS UK therefore offers some timely advice for people heading out on away days and holidays:
- Spot – spot the dangers in and around the water
- Advice – look out for any safety signs and advice
- Friend – stay close to a friend or family member
- Emergency – shout for help and dial 999 (112 if you’re holidaying in Europe)