No family holiday is complete without taking a dip in the water, and for many families, having a pool on-site or within walking distance is a must when thinking about a summer getaway. Whilst it’s likely that your baby will have gained confidence in the water if they’re having swimming lessons, you may still be feeling a bit anxious about how they’ll fare in an unfamiliar setting. Whether you’re at a resort pool, picnicking at a lake or paddling in the sea, your family’s safety is, of course, crucial.
If you’re planning to go away this year, our guide will help you to keep your baby safe around water whilst on holiday. Reading up before you head off on holiday will go a long way towards lessening any worries you might have; you’ll also find some more general tips on how to holiday with your baby in one of our earlier blog posts.
Before you go
Get the most out of your baby’s swimming lessons
Unsurprisingly, the best way to secure your child’s long-term safety around water is to take them to regular swimming lessons from infancy (though baby swimming has lots of other benefits that we’re not afraid to shout about!). They’ll learn vital swimming techniques like learning to get to the side of the pool, then holding on, and maybe even climbing out.
Getting your little one used to the water in a comfortable setting will help them to feel at ease splashing about in an unfamiliar one, so making the most out of their swimming lessons is vital. Don’t be afraid to ask questions - a good baby swimming teacher will be happy to answer any queries you may have.
Introduce bath time to their daily routine
Bath time is a great way to prepare your baby for their later experiences in the pool or at the beach because it encourages them to feel comfortable in the water. Use this time to bond with your little one by smiling, singing or talking, and enhance their enjoyment by introducing toys and games to make their bath time more fun.
Think about swimming safety when booking your accommodation
If you’re staying at a villa or resort with a pool, find out what safety measures are in place before you book. There should be a physical barrier to keep wandering tots out of danger - pool covers, fences and lockable gates are all signs that your accommodation takes the safety of their guests seriously. And in many countries, owners are required by law to secure their pools.
Pool safety alarms provide another means of security, although there is some debate as to their effectiveness, since alarms are susceptible to faults. So when it comes to child-friendly accommodation, a pool alarm should be installed as an additional safety measure, rather than one you rely on.
Like many of us, you may want to book accommodation close to a beach; before you do, find out how family-friendly the beaches are in the area you’re looking to stay. Check the nearby facilities and think about the practicalities - you’ll need to pack more for the day if amenities are few and far between!
When you're there
Become familiar with your surroundings
You should ensure that you and your family are familiar with whatever’s close to your accommodation as soon as possible – especially when it comes to water. Whether it’s a private or shared pool, or a quick walk to the beach, it’s crucial that you’re aware of the finer details before getting in. Be knowledgeable about the layout of the space and the depth of the water. Note any potential hazards or danger points, and locate the places nearby where you can get help should something go wrong - identify lifeguards or specially trained members of staff who could be invaluable in a crisis.
Never leave your child unsupervised around water
It goes without saying, but even confident young swimmers should be supervised by a known adult whenever they’re in, on or around the water. If you need to leave, even for a moment, hand over responsibility to another adult - never leave a young sibling in charge.
Think about the pool toys
Pool toys offer lots of fun for young and older children alike, but it’s important to be sensible when it comes to how many inflatables, floaties and dive sticks there are lying in or on the water - one too many, and your view of the pool floor will become obstructed.
It’s also important to empty the pool of toys when it’s not in use. The allure of a beach ball floating on top of the water may be difficult for your little one to resist reaching for, so remove the temptation. Ideally, pool toys should be stowed away out of sight too.
Do remember that pool toys and inflatables can often be unstable, so you must still make sure your little one is supervised at all times.
Swimming safety at the beach
A question we’re often asked at this time of year is whether it’s safe to take your baby in the sea. While it’s too cold and salty for babies under 6 months, your older baby or toddler will love a splash in the surf! Just remember to stay in your depth, avoid inflatables, and keep hold of your little one at all times.
Whilst your baby may feel confident in a still pool, you may find that they feel uneasy when faced with oncoming waves. Remain calm and hold them close when paddling in the sea. You should teach them not to turn their back to the sea when they’re paddling at the water’s edge; this will prevent any nasty surprises coming their way when a wave breaks on the shore.
It’s also important to be aware of any potential hazards drifting by under the water. Watch out for any sharp rocks or sudden dips in the ocean floor.
Water safety around rivers and lakes
Lakes are a picturesque swimming or paddling option for you and your little one - but often, the stillness of the water’s surface can be misleading, and mild currents can easily knock a small child off-balance. You should check the depth of any lake or river before getting in – even just for a paddle. Use a long stick to measure how deep it is - mud and silt can make the water appear much shallower than it really is.
Although it’s important to stick to these safety rules before and during your holiday, it’s also worth remembering that swimming is part and parcel of your family’s time away together. Use the experience as an opportunity to bond, and help your baby to build on the skills they’re learning in their Water Babies swimming lessons!
Posted 21st May 2018 Tags