Top 10 Holiday Tips for Safer Home and Holiday Swimming
Summer is here and Christmas holidays are upon us once again which for many Aussie families means getting out to enjoy the festivities around water like going to the beach, having a picnic near a lake or a barbie by the pool.
Whether your catching up with family and friends or going away for a holiday to a lovely destination, we’ve put together some helpful tip’s on staying safe for home and holiday swimming. Keeping these 10 simple rules as common habits may save the life of a loved one or maybe even your own:
- Make it very clear to the child that they are not to enter the water (whether it be it a beach, river or other) without a parent present. Even though the child may be a competent swimmer in a pool environment, currents and other conditions can impact heavily on a swimmer’s capabilities.
- If vacationing at a unit complex, holiday apartment or Caravan Park that has a pool, be mindful of the entry and exit points, and of the sturdiness of the pool fencing, or if it has fencing at all.
- Be sure to take all necessary items with you – so you don’t have to return for forgotten items including towels, hats, sunscreen and water/snacks
- At the beach, always swim between the flags. The flags are placed in the most suitable spot for swimmers, and life guards are on hand if assistance is needed. They can’t assist you if they can’t see you!
- Keep in mind that life guards are neither babysitters nor a substitute for constant and active adult supervision. The same applies to older siblings – they should not be regarded as a replacement for adults as they are more likely to be distracted from the supervision task, and their decision-making capacity tends to be compromised in stressful situations.
- The rapidly changing water conditions and temperatures of rivers, lakes or dams, as well as their currents, cloudy/murky water, slippery banks and submerged objects make swimming in such environments potentially hazardous. Never dive into water you can’t see into. Take it easy and slowly walk your way in.
- Always heed and obey the warning signs! Warning signs provide valuable information about the conditions, and in the first instance must be observed by adults. Children mimic the actions of their parents, so it is vital that adults set a good example when in and around the water
- Submerged objects aren’t the only hazards a swimmer might encounter in an aquatic environment. Depending on where you are, look out for surfboards, boogie boards, canoes, jet skis and boats when holidaying this summer. Our glorious summer weather brings out to play a myriad of different water enthusiasts, and it’s vital that we take appropriate care no matter what water activity we are participating in.
- At a social gathering, don’t assume someone else is watching children! Many drowning tragedies have occurred as a result of an adult thinking someone else is looking after their child. Nominate a “pool watcher” and ensure they are aware of their responsibilities, and then rotate this role as required.
- Just like drinking and driving – alcohol and water do not mix! Restrict your alcohol consumption around water – not only does it limit a person’s supervision and rescue capabilities, it contributes to approximately 20% of all adult drownings each year. Being in and around water is an integral part of the Aussie lifestyle, particularly over the Christmas summer period. I urge all parents to take the time to reflect carefully on the aquatic environment(s) their family may be exposed to these holidays. Doing so will help ensure a safer water experience for you and your children, and may even prevent a tragedy.
We hope this article is helpful and that you have a safe and wonderful time over the Christmas holidays. We’d also like to acknowledge Hampton Swim School for some of the helpful tips in this article. Please share this with family & friends as it could help save a life.