If you take your family on vacation, you’ll probably want to get outside in the sun and play. Maybe there’s an outdoor pool at your hotel, or perhaps you’re somewhere near the ocean. If so, you may want to take the whole family for a swim.
While swimming is a fun activity that can easily kill a couple of hours, you need to watch out for certain dangers, particularly involving your kids. Let’s go over a few of those right now.
It’s not hyperbole to say that swimming pool accidents can be deadly. With wrongful child deaths between ages 1 and 14, drowning is the 2nd leading cause. Drowning can occur if:
- Your child isn’t the strongest swimmer yet
- They have not had any formal lessons
One thing you can do is to get your child swimming lessons starting when they are quite young. You can take part in those lessons with them if you like, so it’s an activity you can enjoy together. You can take those lessons at the local YMCA or look into some summer camp possibilities.
However, even if your child has had those lessons, you should not leave them unsupervised when they want to enjoy some vacation swimming. That applies either to a hotel pool or the ocean.
You should keep your child in sight at all times. That way, you can come to their aid if they ever need it. If something happened to them when you weren’t watching, you’d never forgive yourself.
Also, make sure they swim at a pool or on a beach where there is a lifeguard on duty. The lifeguard trains to help drowning individuals, so you’ll be glad they’re there if there is an emergency.
No Proper Barriers
If you’ve got young children who are not strong swimmers yet, you know you shouldn’t leave them alone in the water. Still, maybe your child gets it into their head to go for a swim without telling you.
If there’s a pool in your hotel, and your child goes exploring, they might find the pool area when there’s no lifeguard on duty. They may decide to hop in, and if they’re not an excellent swimmer yet, they could drown.
This happens most frequently when there are not proper barriers around the pool area. Some appropriate barriers might be:
- A chain-link fence
- A locking gate
If you’re looking around your hotel, note if the pool area does not have barriers in place around it. If it doesn’t, make sure to warn your child or children that they are not to try to get into the pool area when it’s closed.
Dangerous Drainage Systems
Pool drainage systems present a drowning hazard, especially with younger children. The hotel pool’s drainage system should have anti-entrapment devices on them. These prevent a swimmer’s clothing, jewelry, hair, or limbs from being caught.
If the drainage system catches their limbs, clothing, etc., that can hold them underwater until they drown if they are not strong enough to break away. If your young child is going to go swimming in a hotel pool, you should never assume that there are proper drainage blockers in place. Look for yourself, or else ask the lifeguard or another hotel staff member.
Slippery Pool Areas
You will nearly always see signs posted around a pool that tell people not to run. Swimming might excite kids and entice them to dash around the pool, but when they do so, an accident is likely.
A pool area has lots of concrete and hard surfaces. A child can slip or trip over an object and fall into the water, striking their head or some other body part. If your child has sustained an injury, they could drown because they can’t get to the surface to take in oxygen.
If your child is going to play around the pool area, make sure to tell them not to run. If you see them doing it, tell them you’ll cut short their pool time if they don’t stop. You want them to have fun, but not if they’re risking serious injury or death.
If you leave the hotel and go down to the beach, you can have a fun day getting a little sun and enjoying the saltwater. The ocean presents some additional drowning dangers, though.
The tide is unquestionably the biggest one. You might look at the ocean, and it might seem calm on a particular day. However, you cannot underestimate the sea, which is always a primeval force in waiting.
Even strong adult swimmers can drown on what looks like a nice, mild day. The riptide might pull them out, and then they will not be able to swim back to shore. They can tire, and they might drown before anyone can get out to rescue them.
This happens with kids quite often. Your children should not be afraid of the ocean, but they should respect it.
Before you let them in, tell them to stay within your sight at all times and not to go in too deep. Like the hotel pool, you also want to only swim on beaches where there is a lifeguard nearby.
When your child is doing some ocean swimming, they should also watch out for other aquatic dangers, like sharks and jellyfish. A jellyfish can deliver a painful sting, and many shark attacks occur in shallow water. Before you let your child into the ocean, you should do a little research to learn about possible dangers that the marine life might pose.
Your child will probably love having some aquatic fun, and there is no need for you to worry them unnecessarily. Once they have proper swimming lessons, they will probably feel excitement to show you what they have learned. Just be sure you talk to them about safety rules before they get in the water, regardless of whether it’s the ocean or a hotel pool.