When travelling with children, sorting out the family’s plane tickets, visas and accommodation is just the start of all the things you have to worry about. Find out the basic rules that parents need to follow, especially in the water, for a fun and safe family holiday.
Water is usually a major element of any holiday destination, and children love the play around in the water as much as the adults do. However, when water is involved, parents have to be even more cautious than usual, because they’re in an unfamiliar environment.
Parents need to be aware that when it comes to vacation spots, there are usually many more people around than at home, so children can quickly “disappear” in the crowd if left unattended. At resorts, the safety of swimming facilities and the competency of paid child carers and lifeguards cannot always be assumed. Although the odds are that the pools are safe, parents cannot let their guard down. It only takes four centimetres of water and three minutes for a baby or toddler to drown. Safety measures need to be applied not only at the swimming pool and in the ocean, but even when having a bath in the hotel.
Watch for signs when the water temperature is too low, like shivering or a bluish tinge to the skin. Swimming in too cold water can, in extreme cases, lead to hypothermia. The first-aid treatment for hypothermia is to remove the child from the cold area, then remove any wet clothes and wrap him or her in a warm blanket to hold in their body heat.
The opposite of hypothermia is hyperthermia, which can cause heat exhaustion. This occurs when children are exposed to high temperatures and become dehydrated. The symptoms are heavy sweating, paleness, dizziness and fainting. The first-aid treatment is to take the child to a cool place and loosen tight clothes. Then the give them oxygen and elevate their legs about 20 to 30 centimetres. When the child is awake, give him or her cool mineral water.
A travel first-aid kit must be on top of your list of things to bring on vacation, so that basic first aid can be given without having to find the elusive doctor.
For a safe and healthy holiday, make sure you travel with a first-aid kit that includes:
* Sunscreen and insect repellent
* Paracetamol syrup (NOT aspirin for children)
* Oral rehydration solution (if going to a resort where the food and water is potentially suspect)
* Antiseptic cream (for burns, cuts and abrasions)
* Bandages, plasters, scissors, tweezers and safety pins
* Calamine lotion for bites and itchy rashes
Photo courtesy of Dubai Tourism