The hotel swimming pool is often thought of as a safe place of relaxation on holiday – but most hotel swimming pool accidents occur on the first day of a holiday, and usually because the victim was tired or had drunk too much.
Parents often get stressed from the journey or from work and are not as attentive during the first 24 hours of their holiday – meaning small children can slip away out of sight and end up in difficulty in the hotel swimming pool, where they can be hard to spot among other swimmers.
The side of a swimming pool can also be lethal, with walkways slippery with water which has not been mopped up. Broken or cracked tiles can also cause cuts to feet – and because of bacteria around the pool, these may become infected if not washed and treated with antiseptic straight away.
The other danger about the swimming pool on holiday is if the water is not disinfected daily – or swimmers do not shower before using the pool or use it when they have a stomach upset – a parasitic infection called cryptosporidium can occur, causing an outbreak of holiday sickness and diarrhoea.
The parasitic gastric infection cryptosporidiosis or crypto is a common reason for swimming pools in theUKand abroad to be closed for thorough cleaning. However, in some cases, resistance to normal pool cleaners like chlorine has occurred.
Cryptosporidium infection develops when the parasite enters the water supply through human or animal faeces. It survives in a spore which if ingested while swimming can cause violent sickness and diarrhoea.
There is no treatment for cryptosporidium and its usually clears up by itself within a few days – but a bout of holiday gastroenteritis can wreck your plans, so it is best to take sensible precautions when using the hotel swimming pool on holiday.
Here are the top tips for avoiding the dangers of the swimming pool on holiday:
- Never swim when you are tired or if you have just eaten a heavy meal, consumed alcohol or have taken medication, over-the-counter medicines, or recreational drugs
- Avoid swimming in the hotel pool during the hottest part of the day – the sun will feel hotter and UV reflects off the water so you may end up with sunburn or even sunstroke. You should also wear UV goggles as UV light can harm eyesight
- Always shower before and after using the pool
- Apply more sun cream after using the hotel swimming pool
- Never use the hotel pool if you are ill or have a stomach upset – and never allow children with dirty swimsuits or babies in dirty nappies to use the hotel swimming pool as this might cause an outbreak of cryptosporidiosis
- Never soil the pool with vomit, urine or faeces, as this may also cause an outbreak of gastric illness at the hotel
- Don’t use the hotel pool if the water is dirty – or animals have been swimming in it. Report this to the poolside attendant or your holiday rep and ask for it to be cleaned.
- Keep a close watch on children round the hotel pool and make sure they wear flotation armbands – or wear them yourself if you are not a strong swimmer, regardless of what you look like!
- Don’t dive into the pool from furniture by the pool as this may over balance and you could hit your head on the side – and don’t tombstone into the pool from your balcony or other height as you could miss, break your back or neck or sustain a serious or fatal head injury
- Be careful walking round the pool in case the floor surface is wet – report this to the pool attendant in case someone slips and hurts themselves.
If you do have a slipping accident at the pool and it wasn’t your fault you can make a claim for holiday compensation.