Stay safe and be water aware on holiday

As part of our Drowning Prevention and Water Week NFCC are asking people to remember water safety messages when away from home this summer. A few minutes preparation before you head away on holiday or for a short break by the coast can really help make your visit safer.

NFCC recommends:
  • Avoid the temptation to find that hidden gem of a beach and get away from everyone else.  A secluded beach is not the safest option.
  • Were possible use a lifeguarded beach during patrolled hours. But it is important to remember that it is up to you to correctly supervise children not the lifeguard.
  • Dress your children in something nice and bright/ distinctive – it is easier to keep an eye on them.
  • Make sure your children know what to do or where to go if they get lost – agree a meeting point.

For holidays in the UK the RNLI have a great page on their website which allows you to look up a beach and find details of the facilities and lifeguard dates and times.

beach flags                NFCC Holiday be water aware poster        

For Ireland you can check for lifeguarded waterways on Irish Water Safety.

In Spain the Red Cross (Cruz Roja) patrol many beaches and you can search for a lifeguarded beach on their site by putting in the coastal area of Spain you are visiting.

Obviously, we can’t list all countries here but a simple web search for the country or region you are visiting for lifeguarded beaches should present you with useful information.

It’s also important to remember the water in a hot region can still be very cold. This can be exacerbated by going from very hot air to cold water. Cold water shock kills. It doesn’t matter if you are normally a strong swimmer.

It’s not just the coast that poses a risk on holiday. It’s quite the norm nowadays to have a pool either at the hotel or at a villa.

In some countries such as France and Australia there are laws which means pools must be enclosed by fencing but the type of pools they apply to may differ and some countries have no such laws. It is also worth noting you should still remain vigilant even if there is a fence.

NFCC recommends:
  • Alcohol should be avoided – never swim after drinking and don’t drink next to the pool – it is very easy to feel drowsy or fall asleep after drinking in the sun
  • Know your pool – check the depth, where is the deepest point?
  • Don’t think arm bands or a rubber rings prevent drowning
  • Clear trip hazards (such as toys) from around the pool
  • Never leave a child unsupervised near or in a water – not even for a second
  • Don’t assume you will hear if there is a problem – children can slip below the surface and drown silently
  • Don’t assume because a hotel pool has an attendant or lifeguard you don’t need to supervise – and remember a pool attendant is not necessarily a trained lifeguard

Some young children have drowned as they have silently wandered to the pool either early in the morning or late at night when they were thought to be asleep. Consider taking devices such as portable door alarms on holiday.

One of the best things you can also do is make sure you know what to do in an emergency. Make sure you know basic first aid, the number to call to get help and the address of where you are staying.

Make sure your children can swim – for advice take a look at the Amateur Swimming Association website.

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