What you can do to protect your family in the water

Whether we’re enjoying the summer at home or catching some rays abroad, there’s nothing better than taking a dip in cool water.

But while relaxing by the water is one of life’s simple pleasures, being too carefree can have consequences as safety often takes a back seat.

So what can we do to protect ourselves, and our families, in the water this summer?


Accidents around the pool usually happen when children are left alone, and when it comes to toddlers and babies, even turning your head for 30 seconds is too big a risk.

While most pools in Ireland have lifeguards, most pools abroad don’t. Discuss the safety features of the hotel pool with the travel agent before booking a holiday. Find out if the facilities are designed to be child-friendly, ask if there is a lifeguard at the pool or a safety fence around it. If there isn’t, at least you’ll be prepared and know what to expect.


Swimming pools can vary in their levels of hygiene, and the heat will make germs spread more quickly. So what precautions can we take to reduce risks of common ailments after swimming such as ear, eye and throat infections?

Never go swimming when sick or within 14 days of being ill, and avoid swallowing pool water.

Showering beforehand significantly improves water quality and reduces the risk of contamination. Even in a chlorinated pool swimmers risk picking up infections.


There’s something about the freedom and challenge of wild swimming that’s luring more and more fans. With the unknown though, comes bigger risks. Even strong swimmers are advised not to swim alone. A bright swimming hat will make sure you’re visible to other people and boats in the sea too.

The main safety hazard though is that swimmers will get too cold and too far from shore, so build up sea swimming gradually. Also acclimatise and get in slowly, rather than diving in, to judge the depth and temperature.


The widespread craze of jumping into the sea from cliffs, bridges or piers shows no signs of diminishing.

As well as the obvious dangers, many of the popular ’tombstoning’ spots are also impossibly high, and the frequently changing tides make it difficult to judge water depth, not to mention the possibility of hidden objects or rocks lurking just beneath the surface. Strong currents can sweep people away.


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