Swimming pool on your winter sun holiday? Take these steps to stay and help you RELAX

If you’re planning a holiday that includes access to a swimming pool, it’s important to follow a few simple to keep everyone safe and well during the trip.

Here are a few handy reminders to help you RELAX around the pool:


Recce the pool environment when you first arrive at your accommodation

Identify safety features, barriers, slides and chutes, deep and shallow end, whether there is a lifeguard if it’s a shared pool and when they’re on duty. Take a moment to find out what the local emergency numbers are and add them into your phone when you arrive.

Eyes on the kids – keep a look out always (whether it’s you or someone you trust)

Swimming pools at bigger hotels and resorts may have a bar or counter you can get drinks and snacks from. If you’re on a villa holiday, you might need to grab things from the kitchen. Make sure you always keep an eye on your kids, or ensure someone else is, whenever you need to step away.

Lifesaving techniques. Make sure you or someone you are with knows how to save lives.

There may not be a lifeguard where you are going, so learn some basic CPR. And even if there is a lifeguard, bear in mind they are not substitute parents.

Armbands – If they are needed, make sure they stay on at all times. 

Children often want to get back in the pool even if you’ve decided the time for swimming is over. If you’re near the pool and your kid needs armbands, keep them on.

Explain to children how to use the pool safely. Take time to do this. It’s vital.

Even if your children are confident swimmers, remind them the risks involved with being around the pool. Travel and tour companies and self-catering accommodation providers are expected to provide the right information and assistance to help people using the pool avoid getting into trouble, and to deal with an emergency if necessary. But be sure to take personal responsibility as well.


For travel operators and accommodation providers:


Make sure pool signage and any briefing material is clear on whether there’s a lifeguard on duty (and when), and what to do in an emergency. Regardless of the presence of lifeguards, emergency contact numbers should be easily accessible, at or close to the pool. It is also worth reminding people that the presence of lifeguards is not a guarantee against accidents.

We are calling for all accommodation providers with swimming pools to add local emergency contact numbers to existing signage, or to ensure these numbers are easy to find at or close to any swimming pool. Emergency numbers should be made readily available to people on arrival at their accommodation.

Travellers: tell us about good practice…what helped you know what to do in an emergency at the pool…where was the information and could you find it quickly if you needed to?


Lifeguards must be trained in resuscitation techniques and they must be able to use them in an emergency. They also need to be able to communicate clearly to visitors too. Lifeguards provide some assurance to pool users who may be less vigilant if lifeguards are present; therefore, it is potentially more dangerous to have an ineffectual lifeguard than none at all.

We are asking all accommodation providers with swimming pools that, where lifeguards are provided, they check that their lifeguards have the basic lifesaving and communication skills needed to be effective in an emergency. If any gaps are identified in these skills we are asking that all future recruitment and training of lifeguards ensures they meet these basic requirements.

Travellers: ask your accommodation provider what sorts of skills and training their lifeguards have, and let them know if you feel confident in them or not.

ABTA’s Swim Safe campaign has lots of resources and practical advice on staying safe in a range of swimming environments.


Published on 10/10/23

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