With the summer holidays fast approaching for all, there can be a lot of excitement and anticipation in the air in the run-up to that final school pick up in July. With 87% of Abta’s British consumers reported to have taken a holiday either at home or abroad in the 12 months to August 2017, we’re clearly a nation of break lovers!
Holidays are a great experience for family bonding, with swimming being one of the more favoured activities of the trip. Whether this be at the hotels swimming pool, the local waterpark or a water sport activity on the lake, it’s important to follow basic rules and pool safety tips to avoid potentially dangerous situations.
As a parent or guardian, we have a variety of swimming pool safety tips to take into consideration both before booking your holiday that includes children, and also for when you are there.
Swimming lessons and basic first aid
Teaching a child to swim not only gives them the chance to build their water confidence from a young age, but it also teaches a valuable life-saving skill. Sadly, around 400 people drown in the UK each year. Nearly 60 of these are children and young people. There will be moments in their life where you can’t always be there. Therefore, teaching your child to swim may save their life one day. Invest in a pair of childrens swimming goggles that are completely watertight – this will help with their confidence to put their head under the water and learn breathing techniques.
If your child does come into a life-threatening situation, it’s crucial that you know what to do. Learning basic first aid with CPR from St John Ambulance prior to your holiday will equip you with valuable skills which hopefully will never need to be used. This CPR YouTube video is the perfect place to start, but St John Ambulance also provide training courses around the UK.
Check for barriers and alarms
If you’re booking a family villa with a private pool, there are certain safety features to look out for. Many pools abroad come with a barrier which must remain shut when not in use. This will prevent any accidental trips into the water when your children are running around. Many pools are also supplied with a safety alarm, which triggers a high pitch alert whenever movement is detected in the water. This can be deactivated when supervised playtime is happening.
Use the water watcher system
When children are swimming and there is more than one adult present, implementing the water watcher system ensures kids are actively supervised at all times. Swimming is hard work, and although it enables your children to sleep easier when it comes to bedtime; the exertion of energy used should be monitored accordingly. Keeping your children hydrated between swims and encouraging breaks can act towards retaining their safety in and out of the water. Print out and pack this card in your suitcase and ensure the person who has hold of it knows that they are the responsible adult for the agreed amount of time. After their supervision is over, it is passed to another adult.
Leave the pool and poolside clear of any toys
When playtime is over and there is a pool still present (i.e there’s one in the back garden), ensure the pool and the poolside are cleared of any toys and inflatables. This will prevent distractions for your children to wander out of sight. It’s important to teach your children some fundamental rules before the holiday begins – no running. The surrounding edges of swimming pools are made from hard materials, and if a trip is to occur, your child will receive a hard knock to the head, which could be life-threatening.
Bring water assistants!
For the best swimming pool safety, armbands are a great floating device, but they shouldn’t be used if your goal is to teach your child to swim whilst on holiday. This is because they will not be aligned in the water. Their top half will be bobbing above, forcing their bottom half to dip down. Instead, invest in a personal floatation device like this Konfidence swim jacket to assist in achieving the best possible position whilst in the water. These are also great for older children who haven’t gained their full water confidence just yet. Swimming goggles are also great for helping your child feel more comfortable when their head is under the water, and will help keep your children entertained for hours!
Check the water depth
Have you ever seen those large numbers painted on the side of swimming pool? These are to tell you the depth in metres of the water at that point. Make sure that any weak or non-swimmers stay in the shallow end, and any experienced swimmers are not left unsupervised. Kids are fearless, enforcing boundaries will instil confidence when staying within required depths based on their height and capabilities. If you’re mixing it up with hotel pools Vs open water, it’s important to stress the difference to your children. Uneven surfaces, river currents, ocean underflow and changing weather are all factors to consider when children are in adventuring mode.
Holidays are a time for family bonding and making memories, but it’s important your family are educated on best practices when in or near water. That way, potential situations can be avoided. For fun ideas of what to play when in the swimming pool, why not check out our blog on fun swimming pool games for the whole family?