Summer holidays are a fantastic opportunity to go swimming with your kids or to teach them how to swim safely, and that’s why I’m pleased to support the ABTA Swim Safe campaign.
In fact, I know from experience how easy it is for your child to suddenly get into difficulty in the water; this happened to us a few years ago when we were in Daytona, Florida, and No 1 Son – by then a very confident swimmer – suddenly found he was a little too far out of his depth. Fortunately we were able to get him back to safety quickly, but it certainly reminded me that you can never predict anything when your child (or you, for that matter) are swimming. And it’s not just the sea where you have to be careful, of course – you also need to absolutely vigilant when your children are swimming in a swimming pool, or lakes, or anywhere else.
No one likes to think about what might go wrong when they’re planning a holiday, but according to stats from the Royal Society of the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), 30 children have drowned in holiday swimming pools in the past six years, and more than half were under four years old. So making sure your children swim safe is absolutely vital.
As Nikki White, Director of Destinations and Sustainability, ABTA, says: “Unfortunately, each year there are accidents in the water, some with devastating consequences. Swimming should be one of the pleasures of a holiday, and following some simple steps can save lives, keep you and your loved ones safe, and help keep the water fun for everyone this summer.”
Here are a few simple tips to swim safe with kids:
*Get in the water with them – it’s easier to keep an eye on them as well as good fun – and remember children should always be supervised in or near water.
*Children should be supervised by an adult at all times and never left unattended, even if a lifeguard is present (and it’s worth mentioning that it always amazes me when I’m on cruise ships and people wander off and leave their children in swimming pools – there are no lifeguards on cruise ships!).
*Armbands can be a good training swimming aid for children but are not a substitute for supervision.
*Speak to reps, hoteliers or local people about pools and local beaches and beach currents.
*Read the pool safety rules before you swim and remember, not all holiday accommodations employ lifeguards.
*Never swim where a sign says not to e.g. in zoned areas for jet boats or jet skis.
There are loads of helpful tips and advice on the ABTA Swim Safe website, but meanwhile, here’s a video; here’s to swimming safely and fabulous summer holidays.