• Holiday Safety – some simple advice

    Help! I’m going on Holiday abroad – how do I stay safe?

    Dr Lisa Ackerley shares some of her experiences from presenting on the BBC’s Secret Tourist and Holiday Hit Squad

    You don’t want to turn into a hotel inspector, but here are a few tips that may make your holiday safer.

    Room

    Taking a moment or two to check your accommodation before you unpack the suitcase could make a real difference to your stay – and could save your life!

    • Check out emergency exits from your accommodation as soon as you arrive – this could save your lives. Don’t rely on the plan on the back of the door – I have found that it is often wrong!
    • Make sure if you have young children that they can’t get onto the balcony unless you are with them. Check that the balcony is safe to use – is it high enough, is it like a climbing frame? Can the children step up to get over it? Is it wobbly? If in any doubt, ask for another, preferably ground floor room.
    • Check out the electrical sockets – are there any exposed wires or broken sockets?

    Plug Socket - Always check plug sockets when you arrive at a hotel Hotel Fire Exits - always familiarise yourself with the nearest exit. Balcony safety - ensure your balcony is safe before allowing children to play

    Pool

    The swimming pool is normally one of your holiday’s luxuries. Make sure it doesn’t become one of the inconveniences.

    • If it is murky, don’t go in it – it won’t be clean enough and it could be unsafe if you can’t see a child in difficulty under the water. Complain straight away and take pictures.
    • Check out the depths – tell your children where the deep end is, and supervise at all times
    • Check out any trip hazards or slip hazards – I have seen hotels with broken grills round the pool – ideal to fall into a gulley and break your leg whilst falling in to the pool
    • Avoid the Jacuzzi unless the hotel is really spotless – some even tell you the pool hygiene readings and checks.

     Holiday swimming pools - they might look inviting but there can be hidden dangers Dangerous Swimming Pool - Watch out for trip and slip hazards! Dirty Swimming pool - if it's dirty, don't go in!

    Buffet

    You can’t exactly spend your holiday eating bread and bottled water (although that’s what I had to do on some of my trips)! Following some simple advice, you can eat to your heart’s content.

    • Hot food should be hot, cold food cold.
    • Watch out for recycled food – food that has been out once and is made into something else – for example, I have seen hot sausages for breakfast and then chopped sausages in salad the next day
    • If there are flies or birds landing on the food, don’t touch it.
    • Avoid drinks from large dispensers unless you feel really confident about the cleanliness of the place.
    • Re-constituted drinks (where water is added to concentrate or powder) means you are drinking the local water – are you confident it is safe? If not then have drinks from sealed bottles – and give the ice a miss for the same reason
    • Avoid dishes with undercooked eggs in, either breakfast or desserts – Salmonella is not so well controlled in many countries as it is in the UK

    If food is covered properly this is a good sign! Dessert Buffets - make sure hat cold buffets are well chilled Cold Buffets - avoid food with flies on it

    Watch Dr Lisa talking to Watchdog here

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