There are so many baby lessons and toddler classes that you can join as a new mum it is sometimes difficult to choose which ones to do. By the time I got to having having Erin, who was our number 3, I had it nailed! I opted for baby massage and swimming! Baby massage as I wanted Erin to learn how to relax and to sleep well – which she did. The second class I did with Erin from six weeks old was baby swimming, I opted for a very small class where Erin learnt to swim underwater from an early age. Therefore I am proud to support the ABTA swim safety campaign with safety tips
Erin was a natural in the water and over time this became more important. Erin had hip dysplasia and couldn’t walk but swimming was brilliant for her and after her operations it helped to build her strength back up.
Erin was even named a little hero after winning a national swimming accolade. It led to her even being featured on our local news which she loved!
When we have been on holiday others have been amazed at Erin’s ability in the water and I am so confident in her abilities which is very important. Therefore I have teamed up with ABTA as they launch an awareness campaign ahead of the school holidays.
According to statistics1 from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), 30 children under ten years old have drowned in holiday swimming pools abroad over a six-year period, with more than half of these victims under 4 years old. Last year ABTA was made aware of 19 fatal drownings abroad of UK holidaymakers, 7 in swimming pools and 12 in the sea.
Families are urged to take care and always follow pool and beach rules. The rules are not just for children and everyone needs to remember to be safe in and around water.
Wherever you’re swimming, follow ABTA’s top tips for swimming safety:
- Make the most of your time in the water
- Brush up on your swimming skills before you go away.
- If you’ve got kids then get in the water with them – it’s easier to keep an eye on them as well as good fun – remember children should always be kept under constant supervision in or near water.
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Always follow pool rules and local signs.
- Check the pool layout to know where the deep and shallow ends are, especially before jumping or diving in.
- Check warning flags and signage on the beach.
- Beware of dangerous currents: these can be very powerful. Ask locally if there are any known dangerous currents or dangers caused by the tides and avoid swimming in these areas.
- Beware of underwater hazards, such as reefs, rocks, sudden changes in depth and marine life.
- Don’t dive or jump from rocks, piers, breakwaters or poolside furniture.
- Follow safety advice
- Speak to reps, hoteliers or local people about pools and local beaches.
- Read the pool rules before you swim and remember, not all holiday accommodations employ lifeguards.
- Never swim where a sign says not to e.g. in zoned areas for jet boats or jet skis, or where the lifeguards have identified as being unsafe (possibly due to hazards that you can’t see)
- If there is a flag warning system, learn what it means.
- Look out for others
- Never swim alone, ‘buddy up’ with others in your party.
- Children should be supervised by an adult at all times and never left unattended, even if a lifeguard is present.
- Armbands can be a good training aid for children but are not a substitute for supervision.
- Never swim at night or after drinking alcohol.
- Know how and where to get help, if you see someone in difficulty; raise the alarm – preferably the emergency services – ensure you know the correct number for the country you’re in.
- Don’t overestimate your ability
- Consider lessons before you go if you think you might need them.
- Even if you regularly swim in a pool, remember that open water can be very different, and cold water reduces the distance that you can swim significantly, even for strong swimmers.
ABTA provides information for holidaymakers on how to stay safe in the water, for more details and to download posters, videos and leaflets visit: www.abta.com/swimsafe