As we hurtle towards the Easter holidays and look forward to long sunny days with our families, no doubt many of us are packing our bags and booking flights. Sunny destination - check. Shorts - check. Sunglasses - check. Swimming costume - check.
As you jet off to warmer climes, it’s easy to relax and let safety out of your mind. The sun is warm, everyone’s having fun cooling off in the water - but there are a few things to consider when swimming with children on holiday to keep them safe:
Although you might be able to catch a nice tan while stretched out on the beach, the sea won’t always be warm, especially if you’re on the Atlantic coastline. When you’re swimming with children in the sea, be conscious of the water temperature.
Cold water can seize up muscles and make it difficult to swim, which can pose a real danger to young children - even confident swimmers. What is comfortable for you might be too cold for them, in which case limit the swimming time and make sure you have towels and clothes nearby.
Tides are tricky to keep an eye on, but easy to avoid. If you are by the sea and not paying attention, you run the risk of being swept out or trapped by a tide that can rise and fall frighteningly fast. Do some simple research beforehand to find out what time the tides are high and low, and plan your trip around that. A little preparation will let you explore the seaside with your family safely, and to your heart’s content.
The sun is one of the biggest hidden threats of the holiday season. Swimming is one of the best ways to cool off on a hot day, but it’s easy to forget about the sun once you are in the water.
Apply plenty of sunscreen before going in the sea, and reapply after they have finished swimming. The higher the factor the better, especially with young children. Take plenty of water with you to keep the kids hydrated, even if they don’t feel thirsty.
You should also limit exposure to direct sunlight, so don’t swim for too long in the sea. Take breaks to retreat to the shade, otherwise your children risk suffering with heatstroke, which is sure to put a dampener on the rest of the holiday.
The beach might be pleasantly sandy, but be mindful of rocks hidden in the water. Seek out swimming advice before you go to the beach. If there’s a lifeguard, ask them about anything you need to be wary of. Stay away from cliffs too, as rocks could dislodge and fall from above.
These tips don’t just apply to holidays abroad, either. Bear them in mind when travelling to Cornwall, or the Suffolk coast, or when paddling in the Hebrides. It doesn’t take much to have a good time when swimming with children on holiday, but it doesn’t take much to ruin it. Be aware, be sensible, and be safe, and you can enjoy your Easter escape care-free.