Drowning not a major concern for 80% of parents with babies on holiday


Most parents feel no need to fret about their babies’ safety in the water while on holiday, according to new research.

Less than a fifth (17.9%) expressed concern about the risk of drowning in a survey carried out by Splash About.

The finding comes ahead of Drowning Prevention Week (15-25 June) — a campaign devised by the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS UK) to make people more aware of the dangers of water.

Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death in UK children.

According to the charity, of the more than 400 people who drown in the UK each year, nearly 60 are children and young people.

Bernadette Spofforth, managing director at Splash About, said: “It’s positive that our research suggests parents are comfortable with their infants playing in water; however, it’s important that this is due to greater knowledge of suitable safety measures rather than a lack of awareness about the potential dangers.

“Being able to relax and enjoy swimming with your child is one of the biggest draws of a family holiday, but sometimes the unfamiliar environment can make parents nervous.”

Studies show that holidays can even have added benefits for child development by engaging systems in the brain’s limbic system, which can remain ‘unexercised’ at home.

“Taking children on holiday is great for so many reasons. And packing the right swimming safety aids can hugely help to ease any concerns and ensure your child’s safety — and comfort — in the water isn’t compromised,” Bernadette adds.

For those parents who feel unsure about water safety while on holiday, RLSS UK’s tips include the following:

  • Check the safety of any water-based activities and whether there is lifeguard cover at the pool or beach before travelling.
  • Take time to check the depth, water flow and layout of pools.
  • Swim with any children in your care — it’s more fun and you can keep them close and safe.
  • If going to the beach, check when the tide will be high and low, and stay close to the shore.

The survey results also highlighted skin damage on holiday as a top concern among parents (18.2%), along with catching bugs (14.4%).

“The last thing parents need when taking their family on holiday is additional stress around their children’s safety,” she adds. “Researching the guidance before you travel and packing smart can allay many of their biggest concerns.”

Ensuring children wear the correct swimwear not only protects delicate skin from burning in and out of water, it can also minimise the spread of bug-causing bacteria.


About Author

Production engineer and certified swim coach. Full-time IT consultant, spare-time swimming aficionado. 2 sons, 2 daughters and a wife. President of the Faroe Islands Swimming Association. Likes to run :-)

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