Stay Safe during Sizzling Songkran Holidays

Published on: April 09, 2021

Safety tips for a perfect and safe holiday to a beach or any other body of water during the upcoming Songkran holiday ahead.

By Gordon Ellard

Whether you’re paddling in the sea or swimming in the pool, lake, or river, swim safely with these Songkran holiday swimming safety tips.

1. Supervision.
Children should never be left unsupervised near or in a pool or any other water body. Always have an adult nearby whose responsibility is to watch over the children to protect them from any potential accidents.

2. Swim Aids.
A floating device is not a replacement for supervision.  Don’t rely on a pool noodle or even armbands, as these can easily slip off or deflate.  Remember it only takes 20 seconds for a child to drown and drowning children don’t cry out for help or wave for help, they simply disappear under the surface – often unseen and unheard.

3. Swim Rules.
Establish clear swimming rules and remind your children of them as much as possible, such as no swimming without an adult, no diving in the shallow end, or running around the slippery pool area.

4. Pool Toys.
Don’t go crazy with pool toys!  We all love to have pool toys such as Songkran water pistols,  inflatables, floating mats, dive toys, pool noodles, rubber rings, etc…but a busy pool chock-full of toys is a distraction and can obstruct your view of the whole pool including the pool floor.  Try and keep the number of swim toys in the pool at one time to a minimum and make sure that all the toys are put away when they are not being used, as toys can attract young children back into the pool.

5. Beaches.
A holiday to one of Thailand’s beautiful beaches is a winner for the whole family.  However, before you research to find out what potential risks are and which ones are the most child-friendly beaches, please remember the majority of beaches in Thailand are unsupervised.  Once you have arrived at the beach, get to know the area, enquire about tides and any dangerous currents or rips.  There may be a sudden drop in the ocean floor or sharp rocks or reefs – make sure that you are aware of all the underwater hazards.  If your child is not a confident swimmer be sure to be within an arm’s length at all times.

6. Rivers and Lakes. 
As tranquil as they may appear, an inland waterway can give a false sense of security.  Undertows, currents, or submerged objects can prove to be very dangerous and it’s important to be aware of the dangers and always take care of water. Remember that water conditions can also change hourly with the current. Do a simple depth check with a long stick before anyone dips a toe in it.  Silt and mud can easily make the water’s true depth appear shallower than it actually is. Never dive in head first as lake and river beds can be stony and uneven, so enter cautiously for a safe, enjoyable swim.  Also be aware of steep, slippery or overhanging banks or paths too especially near waterfalls.

7. Water Parks. 
Be extra vigilant and know where your kids are at all times at the water park. Don’t depend on a lifeguard even if there is one on duty as they  can sometimes miss things as they are responsible for scanning large areas. As water parks have different features and slides, it’s important to read and follow all the safety procedures and precautions relating to height, age, swimming ability, and medical conditions.

8. Know the four “toos!”
Don’t get too cold, too tired, too far from safety, or too exposed to the sun. Songkran is a very hot time of the year, so if you have been in the sun too long, take a break in a shady spot or go indoors.

9. First and Last Day.
Most accidents happen on the first and last day of holidays as parents are more distracted with unpacking and packing, coupled with it being a new destination and parents may not be fully aware of all the potential risk areas.  Be extra vigilant on these days, especially around the water.

10. Learn to Swim.
Sign your kids up for swimming lessons so they become more comfortable in the water. Swimming lessons are an important investment for both you and your children and may save their lives. However, always remember that children still need to be watched closely while around the pool or waterway even if they know how to swim or are taking lessons.

11. Slip, Slop, Slap.
Lastly, teach your children to slip, slop, slap.  Slip-on sun-protective clothing, slop on the 50+ sunscreen and slap on a hat.  This coupled with following these swimming safety tips should prevent accidents this Songkran holiday season.

Images courtesy of the author

About the Author

Gordon Ellard is the founder of Bangkok Dolphins which was established in 1997. Gordon has a passion for all things swimming and has worked to establish a programme at Dolphins that is accredited by the Thai Ministry of Education. His favourite age to teach is babies and the learn to swim range.  Gordon is married and has two teenage children, who he taught to swim.

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