Romero says RELAX

A recent report from the Safer Tourism Foundation revealed a worrying trend in unnecessary deaths and accidents in holiday swimming pools, with an estimated 500 serious pool related incidents every year.

A survey of 2000 adults in the UK showed that 1 in 12 had witnessed a serious incident at the pool. More than 1 in 3 were fearful of an incident occurring.

These figures are staggering and show just how dangerous an environment it can be if proper risk management procedures aren’t in place.

The STF say that lack of supervision, diving into shallow water or becoming entangled in filtration systems are among the main causes of the incidents.

They suggest that parents could have done more to protect their children in many cases.


This summer, the STF launched a campaign called RELAX, designed to help parents make the pool a safer environment for their children.  RELAX stands for:

RECCE the pool environment when you first arrive at your accommodation. 

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

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

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

EXPLAIN to children how to use the pool safely.

According to the STF, the campaign has been devised to encourage parents to take more notice of the way their children are playing and ensure that they understand the dangers that are present. Just because they’re on holiday, they can’t pay any less attention than they would in a swimming pool at home.

How can UK businesses adapt this message?

With the heatwave still in full flow, families don’t have to go abroad to make use of holiday swimming. Many seaside resorts have lidos and open air swimming baths, while many clubs and venues have set up large temporary swimming pools to attract business.

Whilst parents have the ultimate responsibility for supervising their children, some pools have a legal requirement to provide lifeguards. This changes from pool to pool in the UK dependant on size. The laws are even more inconsistent abroad.

Pool owners and operators must know the law and have a robust Risk Management programme to ensure compliance is achieved at all times. They also need a good unannounced external audit programme so they can demonstrate compliance if they need to.

Since the introduction of the New Sentencing Guidelines, fines have soared in value and number so there is a business case for pro-active programmes to avoid/reduce fines. Coupled with the introduction of the No Harm category, regulatory action can be taken without prior accident or incident. That makes the risk for owners and operators even higher.

Stay safe this summer

There are 25 drownings in holiday pools every year. Let’s make sure that the proper risk management procedures are followed so we don’t add to that number.

Romero Risk Management can help with all needs, ranging from a high level Safety Management System review down to unannounced audits of your venues. Give us a call on 0113 281 8110 or email us at for a no-obligation conversation.