According to press reports, this Easter is proving to be extremely popular for holidays abroad as families look to secure cheaper deals outside of the peak summer holiday season. There’s a lot to think about when planning a holiday, and a bit of preparation can go a long way towards a successful and safe family holiday. This week’s blog will talk you through those all important emergency numbers abroad, staying safe in the sun and around the pool, and what to do if your holiday is interrupted by pesky stinging insects. Oh, and make ours a Pina Colada!
Safety in numbers
A first aid emergency is hard enough in familiar territory, but throw a foreign language, lack of local knowledge and one drink too many into the mix and your ability to calmly address a situation can be severely compromised.
It’s so important to appreciate that the outcome of any emergency is always going to be better if the medical response time is quicker. So what can you do on your holiday to access help quickly?
- Know your numbers – in a medical emergency in Europe call 112; in the USA call 911
- Research your resort / locality – it sounds really boring but you will never regret taking a few minutes out to find your local hospital / medical centre / pharmacy should you end up needing it – your hotel rep will be able to help you with this
- Get familiar with Google Translate – practise converting some simple phrases into over 100 different languages – it’s actually quite fun to do with the kids so get them to have a go too! Phrases such as “my child is not behaving in a way that is normal for them” can be especially useful when trying to explain to a doctor that strong, parental gut instinct that something just isn’t right
Inspect your holiday home / apartment
You know your child best – are they a climber? Do they like investigating in cupboards? Do they put anything and everything in their mouths?
- Get down at their level and have a really good look around – what do they see? What is enticing and appealing? Move any plants, electric heaters, choke hazards and cleaning products / laundry capsules from low cupboards and floors
- Move beds, chests of drawers etc away from windows that your child could fall out of
- Check any toys left at the property and any remote controls for dangerous button batteries – make sure the battery compartments are secured so little ones can’t get to these pretty, shiny discs which can cause horrendous damage if swallowed
- If the property has a garden, check it for trip hazards and dangerous water features. Is the garden secure? Be aware of any parts of the garden where your child will require adult supervision to play in
- Make sure your children know not to play on any balconies without adult supervision, and keep doors / windows to balconies locked as necessary
Keeping the kids safe in the sun
When it comes to sunscreen, it’s not just a case of slapping anything on and hoping for the best. Be mindful of the following:
- Children should be using AT LEAST SPF30 sunscreen. Make sure the product you are using also protects against both UVA and UVB rays
- Sunscreen should ideally be applied 30 minutes before sun exposure, to all exposed parts of the body
- When kids are swimming, sunscreen needs to be reapplied immediately after coming out of the water, even if it is “water-resistant”
- Reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours, even when not playing in the water, as it can be rubbed off when sweating and the sun naturally “dries” it off our skin
- Make sure you use enough sunscreen and don’t apply too thinly as the amount of protection given is then reduced – if you are unsure, this is one instance where more is better!
- Make sure your sunscreen has not passed its expiry date – most sunscreens have a 12 month limit on their ability to protect skin once opened, indicated by a little “open pot” symbol on the packaging (see image). Otherwise you are just slathering your child in what is essentially expensive moisturiser!
Staying safe around the pool
- Be aware that the most common time for children to have a drowning accident is within the first hour of a holiday when parents are unpacking and distracted. Parents should take care during this time to make sure that they know where their children are
- You are your family’s lifeguard. Lifeguard standards differ outside of the UK and Ireland. Always supervise children and keep them within arm's length
- Do not use inflatables in open water. Inflatable dinghies or lilos are a well-known hazard – each year there are a high number of incidents where people on inflatables are blown out to sea. Instead, use them in sheltered and confined spaces such as rock pools or swimming pools
- Check bathing sites for hazards such as rocks, piers, breakwater (it could indicate a rip current) or coral reefs
- Take time to check the depth, water flow and layout of hotel / apartment pools
- Do not enter the water after drinking alcohol
Swimsuits are now all over the shops and it is important to think about the colour of swimwear you purchase for your child.
If your child were to get in trouble in the water, lifeguards and other people will need to get to them as quickly as possible. This means putting them in swimwear that is bright and easily spotted, both in clear water (top picture of each colour) or murky beach waves (bottom picture). You can quite clearly see that pale blue or white costumes should be avoided.
Don’t let your holiday be ruined by wasp stings
Wasps can cause absolute havoc on holiday and many a lazy day by the pool has been ruined by a sting. I think as adults we forget the pain a sting can cause, and the fright that this creates in our little one when they hear a buzz. Taking the pain out of a sting is the best way to limit future fear but how should you go about this?
- If the sting is still visible, brush or scrape it off with a hard edge like a credit card or a book. DO NOT use tweezers here, as you risk squeezing more poison into the wound
- Apply an ice pack or cold compress for at least 10 minutes – the pool bar / hotel bar is your friend here – ask them to wrap ice cubes in a clean tea towel for instant “”aaahhh” factor
- If there is no ice to hand, use WASuP for on the go, instant sting relief
Can wasp stings be dangerous?
Stings to the mouth and throat can be dangerous as there is a risk of tissues in the mouth and throat swelling, which could cause an airway blockage. To combat this, suck on an ice lolly, ice cream or ice cube, or sip cold water to help prevent swelling.
Call 999 in the UK / 112 in Europe / 911 in the USA if your child is having difficulty breathing, a wide spread rash or swelling to the face, neck, tongue, mouth or lips – these signs could indicate a serious allergic reaction and swift action is needed.
And finally . . .
We wouldn’t be Mini First Aid if we didn’t say it – take a first aid kit with you! Our Mini First Aid kit is compact yet packed with 74 items to help treat minor injuries.
It's the perfect travel companion, having won a Gold Award at The Mother and Baby Awards 2022 for best travel product under £30.
Bon Voyage folks! The Mini First Aid Team x