5 main water dangers to be aware of when holidaying abroad
You’ve booked it, you’ve packed for it and at long last, you’re off on your well-deserved family holiday abroad!
Whilst a family holiday should first and foremost be all about having fun, it’s worth bearing in mind that there are several water dangers which can pose significant threats to your children’s safety.
Some are more obvious than others, so we’ve listed the five most prevalent water dangers you need to look out for when on holiday with your little ones:
1. Swimming Pools
The most obvious water danger is, of course, the omnipresent holiday swimming pool; a firm favourite with the kids. According to RoSPA, 30 children under 10 years old have drowned in holiday swimming pools abroad over the last 6 years, and these tragedies could have been prevented.
Whilst they may seem relatively safe, hotel and resort swimming pools can often be very deep and some are not lifeguarded, so it’s essential you make sure your children are competent swimmers and are closely supervised while playing in and around the water. Most private villa pools or smaller complexes' pools are highly unlikely to have a lifeguard present and we'd advise checking out that there are water safety rings on hand, or other emergency floatation aides, should you need. Ensure your mobile phone is working and take a note down of the local emergency services telephone number. We'd always recommend packing and baby inflatable rings as well such as these items.
Slippery surfaces also pose injury hazards as children often run around whilst playing, so it is advised that your children wear jelly shoes or pool socks to prevent slipping around the pool edge. In the past, when some of our littles ones were a bit younger, we used to seek our child friendly pools abroad, such as this one in Lake Garda made of rubber which Al Fresco holidays has accommodation at. Result!
2. The Beach
Another prime location for water accidents is the beach. The sea is great fun to play in, however strong underwater currents, cold temperatures and rapidly changing tides can pose a great threat to even the strongest swimmers, so we need to make sure our children are closely watched at all times. Parents: try not to get involved in daredevil activities that your little ones might try and copy!
Its advisable to pay attention to any flags and notices along the beach which will warn you about tidal activity and other hazards. You should also make sure that your children are wearing suitable floatation suits or aids as a precaution against strong currents which could cause the onset of fatigue. One last thing to be wary of is allowing your children to jump into the sea from higher points; there can often be rocks concealed beneath the surface of the water which can cause serious injury.
This little holiday maker is having a SWELL time in his Baby Swimming Shop new toddler swimwear.
The sun can cause damage to your skinand sunburn on foreign holidays (and even in the UK when we have a hot spell) is a common risk and one which all parents are aware of, but water can actually increase the risk and severity of sunburn if you’re not careful. Large bodies of water can reflect the harmful UV rays from the sun, increasing UV exposure and making it easier for the skin to burn. What’s more, the refreshing, cool water in swimming pools and the sea can make it far easier for your children to get sunburn without realising, as they can’t feel their skin starting to burn. For these reasons it is a great idea to make sure your children are wearing long sleeved t-shirts or swim suits
and hats whilst playing in and around water to prevent prolonged exposure to the sun’s harmful rays.
Regarded as great fun by children and adults alike, inflatable pool toys can actually be incredibly dangerous if used by children without constant supervision. Many of these toys can overturn without warning, trapping young children beneath the
surface. Inflatables such as lilos and toy dinghies are also very dangerous, especially when the temptation strikes to play with them in the sea (an activity which many experts strongly advise against). Strong rip-currents and coastal winds can sweep a child on an inflatable out to sea alarmingly quickly, making it essential that children are supervised at all times and wearing personal floatation aids.
Last but not least, waterparks are regarded as a great family day out and are, for the most part, safe places to play. They do, however, pose many of the same risks as a regular swimming pool with some extra ones on top. These parks are always lifeguarded and have strict safety regulations, however it is still advised that you watch your children constantly and that you don’t put blind trust in the staff. Water slides can lead to high-speed collisions with other riders which can go unnoticed by busy lifeguards. Many children can also experience underwater disorientation when re-entering the main pool from a slide, so it is essential your children wear floats and/or float suits whenever possible.
Now that the serious stuff is out of the way, off you go and enjoy your holiday or trip to the beach!
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