Sunday, July 3, 2016
With the holiday season well underway, many Brits will choose to jet off abroad to relax on the beach, or by a pool. While these locations are a great place to unwind and enjoy some time away, they can pose inherent risks to adults and in particular, children. This is why having a good handle on swim and water safety is key to making sure you and your family aren’t in danger around water.
According to the Worldwide Health Organisation, drowning is the 3rd leading cause of death in the world, making it a global health problem. Whilst not all of these incidents are related to swimming, it still strongly emphasises the importance of water safety while you’re away.
Whether you’re a strong swimmer or not, it’s always a good idea to get to know your surroundings and scope the water environment. If you’re by the beach, check for any rip tides, strong currents or any other hazards before anyone goes crashing into the waves. It’s also a good idea to position yourself close to a lifeguard post, so you can keep an eye on any warning flags they may have put up, this also means you will have help close to hand.
With swimming pools, again, check if there is a lifeguard and familiarise yourself with the layout and depth of the pool, making sure everyone knows where the shallow and deeps ends are.
Also, take the time to identify any potential hazards, such as slippery poolside floors, open swimming pool filters and anything else that could be dangerous.
Of course, whilst you’re on holiday, you will be feeling relaxed and refreshed, which can lull some people into taking more risks. Even the strongest of swimmers can get into trouble in the water, so be sensible and don’t put yourself or your children in unnecessary danger in the water, whether it’s going out of your depth, swimming far out to sea or taking on challenging swimming activities.
A pool-side holiday or a time at the beach offers hours of entertainment for the whole family, allowing everyone to have fun and get wet. But before you let your children dive right in, it’s important to set some ground rules with pool or beach fun first.
Children of all ages should be under constant supervision when they’re in or around water, so make sure they know they mustn’t enter the water unless a parent is present. You should also stress the dangers of running by the pool and jumping into the shallow end. It’s also a good idea to make sure younger children, or those who aren’t strong swimmers, to wear buoyancy aids when in or around the water, such as life jackets and water wings or use floats and poolside inflatables.
Extra care and attention should be given to toddlers while you’re waterside. While they may be mesmerised by the water and eager to get wet, they can easily wander off from parents and fall into a pool if not carefully supervised. Also, when you’re in the pool, you should always make sure you have a firm hold on them. Even children under five shouldn’t be out of arm's reach from you in the water. Also, ensure toddlers have well-fitting life jackets or buoyancy aids like water wings or inflatable rings to keep them afloat.
Inevitably, not every toddler loves water, so don’t force your child to go in and definitely don’t ever dunk a child under water who is under the age of 3. They can swallow significant amounts of water which could cause them to drown, plus they may ingest strong chemicals used in pools or unclean water.
With waterside holidays, you’re likely to have greater exposure to the sun, so it’s important to cover up, find shaded areas to keep cool and keep hydrated, avoiding drinking alcohol when you’re by the water. Also, make sure the whole family slaps on a high factor sunscreen, remembering to reapply regularly, especially when coming out of the water.
You should also be mindful of hygiene around water as you may not know how clean the water is. Making sure cuts and scrapes are covered up with a waterproof plaster and kept clean will prevent infection, as well as being mindful of not swallowing too much water while swimming.
With all these swim safety elements in place and by remaining aware and vigilant around water, you should be able to relax and enjoy your time away and avoid any water-related incidents.