Summer Holiday Safety

Mike Dennis
Posted by Mike Dennis

Date: Monday, 22 August 2016. -  
Blog, First Aid

The kids have finished school, the ice cream vans are fully stocked and the sun is out - summer is in full swing!

This season is always the most popular time for families to take a holiday together, either at home or abroad. Holidays are a great experience for all the family, but it’s important to be prepared for any dangers you and your family might face.

By following these simple tips, you can reduce the chance of any injuries or accidents occurring and make the most of your time spent in the sun.

1. Prepare your holiday first aid kit

It always pays to be prepared, and even more so if you’re away from home in a place you’re not familiar with. As well as your usual plasters, bandages, dressings and disposable gloves, while on holiday you may need some additional items in your first aid kit.

When abroad you may have to deal with pesky insect bites. It’s always worth making sure you have insect repellent for the evening and bite relief cream to get rid of any itching or swelling resulting from bites.

Many holidays involve walking - either to the beach, to see the sights or to visit the bars. With a combination of heat and possible new shoes, blisters are a reality you might have to deal with. We recommend bringing specific blister plasters for those long walks to make sure you are as comfortable as possible.

We also recommend bringing lots of antiseptic wipes and hand sanitiser, as well as painkillers and rehydration sachets.

2. Hot temperatures

As the British summer is usually quite underwhelming, it can be easy to forget how dangerous the sun can be. Sunburn hurts when it happens and can potentially ruin your holiday, as well as increasing your risk of skin cancer. It’s vitally important you take steps to protect both your and your whole family’s skin from the sun's harmful rays.

When you are out in the daytime, ensure that you always use a sunscreen with a protective factor of SPF 15 or higher, with both UVA and UVB protection. Reapply yours, and your child’s sunscreen if you are in the sun for more than two hours at a time, if you have been swimming, or if you have been taking part in any activity that might make you sweat.

Keep babies under the age of six months out of any direct sunlight, and ensure any parts of their exposed skin are covered with sunscreen, even on cloudy days.

Loose cotton clothes, a floppy hat and sunglasses are the right kind of clothes to ensure that you and your family are cool, comfortable and protected in the heat.

The hours between 10 a.m and 4 p.m are the most hazardous for UV exposure, so you must take extra care and seek shade during this time.

3. Water safety

One of the best parts of a holiday is spending time around the pool or sea as it’s a great way to cool down and have fun. It’s so important to always be aware of water safety as for people aged between 5 and 24, drowning is the second largest cause of accidental death.

Most water-related accidents can be prevented by making sure you follow a few simple guidelines:

  • Begin swimming lessons before you go on holiday - take your children to swimming lessons so they have the skills and confidence needed to look after themselves in the water.
  • Learn lifesaving skills - make sure that you are aware of basic life-saving skills, such as CPR and rescue techniques.
  • Always Buddy Up when swimming - even the strongest of swimmers can become tired or get muscle cramps, so always make sure you have at least one person with you when you go swimming.
  • Only swim in safe areas - only swim in pools and parts of the beach that are supervised by a lifeguard.

4. Food and drink safety

Depending on where you are traveling to, the tap water available might be treated slightly differently or be less sanitised than the water in the UK. To stay safe, filtered, bottled, boiled or chemically treated water should be used. Ice in drinks should also be avoided to reduce the risk of stomach upsets.

Many holiday resorts offer buffet food for their guests, and while this is usually fine, there are certain things you should avoid. Pots of rice that have been sat for a while can grow bacteria that can lead to food poisoning if eaten, so you should be aware of any rice that has been kept out for a while. Cold meats that may have gone warm from sitting out for too long should also be avoided.

When eating seafood, check with the restaurant if the food has been caught that day and make sure not to eat any oysters where the shells are closed or damaged.