Keeping Your Family Water Safe on Holiday
School’s out and many families are setting off on their summer holidays in the sun with a view to spending a relaxing time on the beach or by the pool. So, you can really relax during your summer break, it’s important to ensure you and your children are water safe and that’s whether you’re going abroad or planning a staycation in the UK.
The team at Sharks Swim & Triathlon, who also run the Swansea Sharks Swim School, have come up with these safety tips to ensure you do stay water safe this summer.
At the Pool
Spending time at a swimming pool can be a fun and exciting place for children to play and entertain themselves whilst on holiday. But you need to make them aware of the slippery surfaces surrounding a pool and this expanse of open water can often pose potential risks for toddlers and small children. Encourage little ones to walk, lots of pool accidents happen out of the water from slipping on the wet surface. Be aware of any trip hazards especially if any toys or float aids have been left out around the pool.
To prevent any accidents, there should always be an adult present when there are young children poolside, even if your child is competent in the water. For infants and toddlers, it’s best to be in the water within arm’s reach. For older children, free yourself from distraction and be prepared to jump if they need help. Always have a clear understanding of who is supervising, particularly in a shared pool. As we all know, children are very easily distracted and can disappear from view in seconds.
Check the water depth and make sure that you and your child knows which end is shallow and which is the deep end.
Weak and non-swimmers should not go out of their depth unsupervised – even when they are using floatation devices.
Children should use a buoyancy aid or personal floatation device to be safe in and around the water. A big misconception is that parents with children who ‘can’ swim think they don’t need some form of buoyancy aid.
After a lot of play, children will get tired around the pool. A personal floatation device, such as our Zoggs Water Wing vests, gives children enough buoyancy and gives you enough time to reach them if they are in difficulty. It only takes a few seconds for you to take your eye off them, especially if you are supervising more one than tot in the pool.
At the Beach
One of the key things to remember at the beach is that children don’t cry out for help and wave to be rescued in the water; they disappear under the surface, often unseen and unheard. This makes supervision the key to safety and prevention of water related incidents at the seaside.
The beach offers a fantastic play environment for toddlers and small children but, like at the pool, supervision is key to ensure their safety.
It’s important to familiarise yourself with the beach flags. When abroad, the colour codes are as follows: a ‘Red for Danger’ or ‘Yellow for Caution’ and a ‘Green Safe to Swim’ flag system is used, but often a bit on the liberal side. It’s better to be safe and swim only when the ‘Green’ flag is showing.
You should also be aware of hazards such as strong waves, tides, rip currents, sharp stones and even coral.
Avoid taking lilos and other inflatables into the sea, they can cause the tide to take you out to sea and they may ‘pop’. You and your children should also avoid playing near rocks, boats or other crafts.
When it comes to swimming, always swim parallel to the shore rather than out to sea and stay within your depth. There should always be an adult accompanying children in the sea and even if you are an adult or a strong swimmer, ensure someone on the shore knows you are swimming in the sea.
Equip the kids with a bright swimming hat so they can be spotted easily and protected from the sun. At Sharks Swim & Triathlon we stock a range of swim caps for children featuring character images which will make your kids the envy of their little friends.
To help with water safety at the beach it’s important to set out rules with your children that are old enough to understand them, such as:
- Never swim on your own
- Make sure you can always see us when playing
- Don’t jump into water that you haven’t been in before
- Always wear something to keep you afloat (although not all children will need this, it is a good rule to be extra careful)
From the team at Sharks Swim & Triathlon, stay water safe this summer and have a great holiday.