Your Summer Holiday Guide to Poolside Bliss
Posted on June 06 2018
During the upcoming summer holidays, an estimated 17 million British families will hit the skies and the roads for a well-deserved holiday, in the hopes of catching some rays, indulging in some exotic food and drink, and creating some lasting family memories.
That is, of course, assuming you successfully packed everything - for every possible eventuality - for you, your child, AND your partner! Whether you’ve chosen to stay in the UK or venture further afield, going anywhere on holiday with kids is no mean feat. The packing, the travel, the accommodation, the entertainment, the cost – there’s a lot that needs to go right before you can allow yourself to relax – and then there’s the inevitable worry of keeping your little ones safe on holiday.
Let’s face it - kids will be kids. Seeing their clothes caked in mud, treating a grazed a knee, or having to hurriedly silence them as they say something wildly inappropriate in a public place, is to be expected – and thankfully comes with few long-term consequences. But a slip and fall around a holiday swimming pool can have far more profound consequences and is far more common that you might expect. Recent research suggests that over 200,000 child accidents are recorded each year around swimming pools in Europe, with more than half caused by slipping. The stuff of parenting nightmares.
Here at Slipfree, we’re parents first, and purveyors of ultra-cool safety shoes second. We’ve been there - seen it - done it - and inevitably got the t-shirt (ladies small, expertly stretched to medium. They’ll never know).
Come to think of it, with children in tow, we’re still there - still seeing it - and the t-shirt carries the stains of a very active childhood. We’re all too familiar with the experience of shouting ourselves hoarse, howling like a banshee with cries of NO RUNNING! NO RUNNING!
Fortunately, we’ve learned a thing or two about poolside safety over the years – those obvious but all too often forgotten tricks that make for a relaxing family holiday. So, before you load the car once more and head off on your next family adventure, check out our top 5 tried and tested tips for achieving poolside bliss.
1. Always maintain a line of sight
When your child is in or around the pool, it’s vitally important that you have an unobstructed view of them at all times. It sounds so obvious, we get it, but it’s all too easy to lower your guard and become distracted by the sights and sounds of your new surroundings or get lost in a good book. If you need to leave the pool area, even for a short time, always take your child with you or ask a responsible adult or trusted family member to be your eyes and ears while you step away. Never assume that an older child or teenager will maintain the same level of attention while you run a quick errand. Think about how easily distracted you were in your formative years – it’s never worth the risk.
2. Inspect the pool area before you settle
As soon as you arrive poolside, even before reserving your sun lounger (hopefully not the 6am dash to bag the best spot), take a perceptive stroll around the whole perimeter of the pool. Pay careful attention to any areas of standing water, or worn, slick tiles. In the UK, most swimming pools are routinely checked for loose or worn tiles and are maintained to a good standard. In much of Europe however, hoteliers are not bound by the same safety regulations, and whilst any ‘family-friendly’ resort worth their salt SHOULD keep a well-maintained pool area, you shouldn’t bank your child’s safety on it.
Observe where steps jut-out over the side, and where filters, toys or inflatables are littering the surrounding areas. You’ll develop a sixth sense for when your child strays anywhere near that area of the pool, and your senses will become more attuned to the risks. Some will call it maternal/paternal instinct, we prefer to call it Spidey-sense.
3. Don’t rely on the lifeguard
Most family-friendly swimming pools employ a trained lifeguard, but despite their best efforts, this isn’t Baywatch – it’s simply not possible to monitor every single child, all of the time. They may be aware of ‘accident blackspots’ but sheer force of numbers prevents them being as attuned to danger as you, the parent. A less powerful Spidey-sense if you will. The bottom line is it's up to you to keep your child safe. And if we’re being honest, you’d have it no other way.
4. Ensure they wear appropriate safety devices
Let’s face it, no amount of watching or number of eyes on your child is going to prevent common slips and trips. Ensure (if needed) your child is wearing appropriately fitting arm-bands (water-wings to our American readers) that won’t slip off as they play. In particular for boys, make sure swimming shorts are not too long, so as to not snag or hinder free movement by getting caught by a bent knee. Finally, invest in a reliable pair of poolside safe footwear. Hard ceramic surfaces present as significant a risk as water, so ensure your child is wearing appropriately fitting non-slip pool shoes. Products such as our Slipfree shoes with their firm-grip soles, can be worn in and out of the water and help prevent slipping on both wet and dry surfaces. Since young children love to imitate their parents, we now offer adult sizes to match our most popular kids designs.
Short of covering your little ones in bubble wrap (we’ve all thought about it!), taking these simple steps will help you protect against poolside disasters.
5. Don’t forget about you!
People without kids will never truly understand how secondary you willingly become when your little ones arrive. However, you can’t ever underestimate your own importance in the innocent eyes of your child. Don’t be fooled into thinking that because you’ve successfully reached adulthood (relatively) unscathed, you’re immune to poolside slips and trips. There’s a reason that airlines instruct you to fit your own oxygen mask before attending to your child’s. An incapacitated care giver is no care giver at all, so make sure you’re practising good poolside common-sense too.
You guessed it, that means NO RUNNING! NO RUNNING!
Until next time, stay safe and have a wonderfully relaxing summer break.
We know you’ve earned it.