Now you may read this post and think it doesnt apply but this is an issue that every parent has a fear of, although it is something which affects expat mums like me on a more regular basis. Probably most of us knew of someone who had a scare at some time with their children. Every year children die or are injured because of this, Im referring to water safety and drowning - the silent killer. But unfortunately it is not the beaches and the sea which are the dangers, its the swimming pools, on most occasions private swimming pools. In 2010 a BBC show claimed that there was 236,000 swimming pool accidents in Europe alone and in 2009, 17 children died in pool accidents in Portugal.
Just yesterday I was at one of Sophie's friends birthday parties. They have a pool at their house and all the children were inside swimming and splashing. There were several parents by the poolside, chatting and watching them. Suddenly one of the children, who was using a tube floaty thing lost hold of it and went under the water, she wasnt completely under the water but enough that nobody could hear her, luckily one of the parents was there and saw her, but its one of those things that is so quick.
Have you ever been on holiday, to a private villa and there has been an unprotected pool, I can imagine the stress it has caused you. I once looked at a house to rent and outside the bedrooms was a pool, just the thought of that scenario caused me to worry, even though the door has locks.
Every year the APSI, the Portuguese version of CAPT (Child Accident Protection Trust) runs a campaign to highlight the dangers and force the Government and local councils to enforce protection laws, but every year more children die. It is completely unnecessary and can be avoided by erecting a fence, this of course, does not negate parental responsibility but gives more time before tragedy strikes.
Also if you are a holiday home owner who rents their home out to families, this is a big draw when trying to attract this market. This will always put you ahead of others, without this safety precaution. I myself would not rent a holiday home if there was free access to the poolside, its too big a risk to take with my children's safety.
This is an issue that affects every parent, whether it is at your local pool or for your summer holiday once a year.
For more information about this please see http://www.apsi.org.pt/ (for portugal) or http://www.capt.org.uk/ (in the UK).
Or for child-safe holidays, see http://www.totstotravel.co.uk/