There’s something about accidents happening on holiday which is especially cruel. The fact that the holiday should be such a joyful time, something that’s saved and longed for – precious time together as a family.

Don't be caught off guard

One of the biggest risk factors when it comes to holiday safety is that parents are off-guard.

Many incidents happened on the first or last day of a family holiday, possibly because parents are distracted by packing and unpacking and the general excitement of children - especially on day 1.

Here are just a few simple checks and precautions. Enjoy the summer weather!

Holiday lets and hotels

It might sound obvious, but remember to exercise the same caution in holiday accommodation that you do at home.

  • Keep medicines and cleaning things out of children’s reach.
  • Move furniture away from windows, and if your let or hotel room has a balcony, ensure young children are supervised.
  • Tie blind cords out of reach of young children.
  • Children under six shouldn’t sleep on the top bunk of a bunk bed.
  • Check the smoke alarms are working when you arrive. We also highly recommend an audible carbon monoxide alarm.

Camping, caravanning, motor homes, camper vans and boats

Already this year there have been a number of carbon monoxide (CO) deaths related to caravans and boats. If accommodation has a fuel-burning appliance, it’s important to get it serviced regularly and, have an audible carbon monoxide alarm. Again, if you’re renting, take one along with you.

NEVER take a lit barbecue or disposable barbecue into a caravan, boat, motor home or any enclosed space – not even a tent. Tents might seem well ventilated, but they’re not.

Let's not forget the pool

Picture the scene: parents relaxing with a drink on a sunlounger, the kids splashing around in the pool. It’s the epitome of a relaxing family summer.

Swimming pools, paddling pools and hot tubs whether at home or on holiday are dangerous places for children. Drowning is the third highest cause of accidental deaths of children in the UK, and swimming pools are one of the three most common places for a child to drown.

We’ve compiled our top ten safety essentials to protect children from accidental drowning in a swimming pool, pond, paddling pool, hot tub, water butt, river, sea, or lake. Remember that young children can drown in as little as 5cm water – so can drown in baths.

Drowning prevention – what you need to know

1. Children should be supervised in the water at all times. Don’t rely on older children to supervise.

2. It’s not just young children who are at risk. Older children and teens can get into trouble, especially while ‘wild’ swimming. Strong currents, deep water and objects lurking under the water are unlikely to be obvious.

3. Don’t assume that because a child can swim, they will be safe. 

4. Drowning happens silently. As drowning occurs, the instinctive drowning response means that a child is unable to speak or to control their arm movements, and they slip quietly under the water – it’s a myth that they splash about, shout or scream. 

5. Don’t rely on lifeguards – provision, training and legislation varies in different countries, and lifeguards may have other duties.

6. Even if you’ve taken steps to make your garden or environment safe, children have drowned after wandering into neighbouring gardens. Be mindful of this at home and on holiday.

7. RoSPA research shows the most common times for children to drown on holiday are the first and the last days – don’t let your guard down at any time.

8. Empty paddling pools when they’re not in use. 

9. At the beach, wind blowing off the land can make the sea look flat, calm and safe but it can easily sweep inflatables quickly out to sea, and children will be tempted to go after them.

10. Finally, expect children to do unexpected things. They can’t be relied on to keep themselves safe, even if they say they can!

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