Holiday Accidents – Will your Children be at Risk?
Once again the BBC programme The Secret Tourist has uncovered the hazards that lead to holiday accidents – and showed that children are most at risk. If a holiday accident is caused by shoddy maintenance at the hotel or resort, then your Tour Operator is liable and you may be able to claim compensation.The Secret Tourist Highlights the Dangers of Swimming Pools and Accidents Abroad
Your Tour Operator is liable because, despite different laws and standards in different countries, if you have paid for an all-inclusive package deal it is up to your Tour Operator to ensure that you and your family are not put at risk of a holiday accident at your hotel that could be avoided.
Beware of the Swimming Pool!
The programme uncovered some shocking facts that every parent needs to know about holiday accidents. The most common cause of holiday accident involves water – namely, swimming pools – which pose the greatest risk of injury and death. And according to the European Child Safety Alliance, it is children who are the most at risk.
Many hotels fail to keep up the maintenance of their swimming pools and it is now common to find broken tiles on the swimming pool floor and around the edges of the pool. These broken tiles often have ‘razor sharp’ edges which could cause nasty injuries. Just what children running about in bare feet don’t need.
There is also the risk of illness from the pool eg the pool water may be infected with bacteria and algal bacteria growth, including pools for children who are most at risk of illness. So a gashed foot in a pool swimming with bacteria? Not the best combination.
According to the BBC programme there are 236,000 swimming pool accidents in Europe every year. That’s 650 every day. And, of course, we can’t suggest that every holiday accident is the fault of the hotel. Slips, trips and falls leading to cuts and bruises are common. But at the other end of the scale is the risk of drowning – especially when there is no lifeguard on duty. Again, it’s children who are in the greatest danger.
Any hotel with more than 40 rooms and a swimming pool must have a lifeguard on duty. Yet shockingly the BBC programme found large hotels in Lanzarote under brands any holidaymaker should be able to trust either did not have a lifeguard at all or did not have enough lifeguards to cover multiple swimming pools.
The hotels mentioned in the Secret Tourist programme were in clear breach of Canary Island laws and safety compliance rules – where lifeguards were on duty, half of them did not have a clear view of the pool so could not see anybody who might need assistance. The programme highlighted the tragic story of a family who holidayed in France where no lifeguard was on duty – their young son drowned in the hotel’s swimming pool.
Other holiday accidents were highlighted eg were guests were allowed to bring drinks to the poolside in glasses – Tour Operator guidelines state that drinks at poolside should be served in plastic cups. This obviously reduces the risk of broken glass injuries. In Tunisia a children’s play area was found to be littered with sharp objects on the floor and also cat faeces, which contains the bacteria Toxicara which can cause blindness.
Most swimming pool holiday accidents are said to occur within the first few hours of a holiday. If you are taking your family abroad please make sure to check the maintenance of the pool and its surroundings and the presence of a lifeguard – and what he or she can actually see – before letting your children dive in to what could be an unpleasant experience at best – or the worst case scenario.
If you or a member of your family have been injured in a swimming pool accident abroad then get in touch with our team of experts today for a free assessment of your claim on:
Freephone: 08081293329 or drop us a line using the form above.