To think a holiday pool for 14mo must be fenced?

(70 Posts)
LightminTheQueem Tue 14-Jan-14 16:10:35

Am I? Family keep suggesting places with unfenced pools which are close to the house and easily accessible and reacting as if I'm being a drama queen when I say they're not suitable for a toddler. Surely it's just dangerous to have an open pool with small children?

More dangerous than keeping a gun in the house. Statistics, innit.

MTBMummy Tue 14-Jan-14 16:11:51

it is dangerous, and most holiday places will say that places with unfenced pools (and ponds for that matter) are unsuitable for young children.

Well at least in my experience

CMOTDibbler Tue 14-Jan-14 16:15:18

Unless they will commit to being within active armslength of the toddler at all times (and with eyes open and on the toddler), then YANBU. Its just so easy for a child to slip out and not be noticed

EverAfterHigh Tue 14-Jan-14 16:18:34

We pissed off family last year because we refused to go to a villa with an unfenced pool.
For us, with two under 5s a unsecured pool is an absolute no-no, won't even consider it. They thought I was being over protective and it caused bad feeling, I'm sure we did teh right thing though because you can't keep your eye on them all the time and the family that don't have young DC are out of the habit of making sure they always close the patio doors to try to keep the pool out of reach.

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Tue 14-Jan-14 16:18:42


Even if they think you are being over cautious it is no fun taking a toddler on holiday somewhere where they have to be constantly watched.

Broken record "I don't want somewhere with an unfenced pool". Repeat as often as necessary. Don't elaborate, don't deviate, don't explain.

Freyalright Tue 14-Jan-14 16:19:14

A house next to a road can be unsuitable. It depends if you think you can't keep an eye on the toddler. Can they wear a life jacket

Sukebind Tue 14-Jan-14 16:20:20

Definately, definately not unreasonable.
My mum knows someone, as do far too many people, whose child drowned in a shallow pond in her own garden. A swimming pool in unfamiliar territory is potentially yet more dangerous.

Pixieonline Tue 14-Jan-14 16:23:40


It's meant to be a 'holiday', not constantly worrying about your toddler falling into the pool.

I like the post above saying "don't elaborate, don't deviate, don't explain".

Floralnomad Tue 14-Jan-14 16:24:10

I have a friend whose child nearly drowned in the FILs pool as a 2 yr old , was pulled out and resuscitated successfully . TBH its not worth the risk and makes for a very stressful holiday .YANBU.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 14-Jan-14 16:27:00

A friend went away with her family to a place with a supposedly fenced pool, only it turned out to be unfenced. It ruined her holiday, she had to keep a close eye on all three of her small children constantly, no relaxing drink in the afternoon etc. Even then one got missed and fell over right by the pool. Family members didn't prove to hot at keeping a proper eye out either. Disaster.

Finola1step Tue 14-Jan-14 16:27:08

YANBU on this one. Stick to your guns.

Yes, there are all sorts of hazards including a road outside the house. But why take unnecessary risks? Unfenced pools with small children are a big no no.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 14-Jan-14 16:27:16

too hot

I am the most laid back parent, have allowed my young children to do all kinds of things that other parents go shock, blush They have played out on the green without me, they have walked themselves to school etc, etc, but I wouldn't even contemplate going on holiday with a toddler and an unfenced pool. YANBU

UriGeller Tue 14-Jan-14 16:32:00

YANBU. Sadly accidents DO happen. Make sure its not to your baby.

Coveredinweetabix Tue 14-Jan-14 16:32:07

I always go for a fenced pool where possible. All pools in France have to have some sort of safety feature, either a fence or a cover. There are many fewer fenced pools in other countries. Villa Plus is a good place to start as you can search for villas with a fenced pool.

SpookedMackerel Tue 14-Jan-14 16:33:26

Yanbu. If you are worrying about a safety issue, then you won't be able to relax, and if others are dismissing your concerns, you're probably find it harder to trust them to be vigilant themselves, so you'll be the one on constant alert all holiday.

By the way, how old is your child now? Is this a holiday later in the year? If they're not very mobile yet, maybe family aren't thinking that they're going to be soon, and thinking of them as a babe in arms rather than an inquisitive fourteen month old toddler.

sheeplikessleep Tue 14-Jan-14 16:35:21

Going against the grain here. We have done villa holidays with extended family and unfenced pools. Kids were only allowed out with adults, but to be fair, we were pretty much outside constantly. Door was kept locked shut if we were in making lunch or whatever.
But then everyone we went with are ultra careful. Kids ranged from 4 down to 6 months.
I thought I was a helicopter parent too!
I'm preparing to be flamed.

AliceinWinterWonderland Tue 14-Jan-14 16:36:50

As someone who has had to take emergency calls from parents whose children have fallen into a pool and drowned - YANBU. It only takes a second, and it's silent. Drowning is not the splashy shrieky thing that is portrayed on television - it's silent and deadly and over before you even know it's happened.

Always get a fenced pool with children.

TwatWeevil Tue 14-Jan-14 16:39:25

YANBU, I wouldn't be able to relax.

I refused to book a villa with a pool. It just wasn't worth the extra stress. It's already bad enough being in unfamiliar territory with a small child. My family either agreed with me or humoured me. No idea which. smile

maillotjaune Tue 14-Jan-14 16:41:32

Like sheep we have been to one place in France with an unfenced pool. It did have an alarm but that was only on at night as the owners plus occupants of 2 gites were generally using by day.

It was about 30 metres from the house (not sure if OP is thinking of one with the pool right outside the house) and the crawling baby the toddler the year after needed watching for other reasons too (stone stairs, wasps all over the windfall fruit...).

It all depends on you, toddler, exact layout of the place.

However YANBU - if it's not what you want then it's absolutely your right to say so.

Joysmum Tue 14-Jan-14 16:42:54

It only takes for the child to slip out of sight, easily done with more adults about as each person assumes they are with one if the other adults.

Added to that, when young, they have no sense of danger and self preservation making the risk higher still.

WhereIsMyHat Tue 14-Jan-14 16:46:47

When we were looking for a holiday house last year a fenced and gated pool was a must. The place we chose also had a pool alarm that worked well too. This was in France but the owners were English.

Baby friendly bolt holes is fab for finding nice but child friendly places to go.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 14-Jan-14 16:47:54


I would go to a villa with an unfenced pool, but only if it was just DH and I, or just us with my parents because I trust them to be every bit as careful as DH and I would be - possibly even more so.

Anyone else, and certainly if there were going to be older children there who would running in and out and leaving doors open - not a fucking chance.

meganorks Tue 14-Jan-14 16:48:44

Having just looked for a Villa with a fenced pool I can understand your family's frustrations - bloody nightmare! But YANBU. If not fenced at very least in a separate area away from main garden. I don't intend on letting my little ones wander about unsupervised but with an unfenced pool I would need to be on their tail all the time. And from passed experience the more people there are to watch them the more likely they are to assume someone else is doing it.

Maybe you should try looking for suitable places? Try Googling 'fenced pool place name' this worked for me.

meganorks Tue 14-Jan-14 16:49:37

*past experience! Brain fart!

dontcallmemam Tue 14-Jan-14 16:52:59

I'm a very lax parent but wouldn't have c

dontcallmemam Tue 14-Jan-14 16:55:19

Considered a villa without a fence and lockable gate. Children are so attracted to water that you wouldn't have any peace of mind. It only takes seconds.

VikingVagine Tue 14-Jan-14 16:55:44

YANBU, it's one of the main criteria for us when looking for holiday lets (because of 4yo DD).

ProfPlumSpeaking Tue 14-Jan-14 16:55:59

YANBU - it would not in any sense be a holiday for you as you could never relax or close your eyes.

Having said that, I thought that in the EU, and in the states, all pools have to be fenced and/or alarmed these days? That should make it easy to find one.

Stick to your guns or, at best, you will have a miserable non-holiday.

maillotjaune Tue 14-Jan-14 16:57:53

I think the number of people is an important point - we had the unfenced pool when it was just DH, me and DSs. One of us could be, and was, with the toddler (and indeed the 7 year old), at all times.

Scuttlebug Tue 14-Jan-14 17:01:16

We went to a villa last year with our DD 3. It had a large un fenced pool. My DH and I were just extremely careful about ensuring the door to outside was locked. It wasn't hard to do and all was fine. However, I do think if more people are there and some not used to how fast a toddler can move, I would have been more wary.

Not worth the hassle and stress I would have thought.

AtticusMcPlatypus Tue 14-Jan-14 17:03:13


When my DD was in year 1 a classmates toddler sister drowned in an unfenced pool. Stick to your guns and don't take the risk.

Musicaltheatremum Tue 14-Jan-14 17:10:58

I went on holiday with my two aged 5 and 3 with an unfenced pool. Never thought anything of it. We just kept an eye on them. I do think though that the more adults there are it could be worse as "I thought you were watching them"

Onesleeptillwembley Tue 14-Jan-14 17:13:06

Yanbu. Nuff said.

TheFantasticFixit Tue 14-Jan-14 17:13:11

Oh gawd OP, unfortunately I have first hand experience of why you shouldn't go with unfenced. We took our18 month old DD on our honeymoon last year to a gorgeous villa with an unfenced pool, thinking that as there are two of us and one of her and we would of course be uber vigilant and all would be fine.
She was fascinated by the bloody thing, like a moth to a flame. The rep came to 'encourage' us to partake in some organised fun and she started to make for the pool, so thinking I was clever I sat right next to her by it saying very smug mummy things like 'yes darling, water! Isn't it dazzling!' And 'no, we don't want to go in there yet' and 'come back, there we go' when the rep made a wisecrack that I needed to titter at and in that second that I looked away - whilst still right next to her - she slipped into the water, silently, her little arms above her head whilst time just stood still and I froze. Fortunately to the reps cries of 'get in there!' My husband flew like a bat out of hell into the pool and scooped her up (taking iPhone, wallet, car keys etc with him) and she was fine. Oh my god, phew. The relief was immeasurable. And I would have thought we were quite 'sensible' parents until that point.

Never, ever again. Our stupid decision nearly ruined not just our holiday but our lives. Don't do it OP, they are too precious and it literally takes a millisecond of absent thinking.

loveandsmiles Tue 14-Jan-14 17:14:07


My DD nursery classmate drowned last summer whilst on holiday. It only takes seconds, nothing is worth that risk IMO.

hellymelly Tue 14-Jan-14 17:17:06

A friend of mine lost her toddler son this way. Villa with unfenced pool, they had arrived with another family and she and her DH each thought he was with the other parent. They found him within minutes, but it was too late. He was only 3. sad so no, YADNBU. I am now really paranoid about water with my dds and 18m is the hardest age to deal with as far too little to be careful around water, but mobile enough to be out of reach in under a minute.

ProfPlumSpeaking Tue 14-Jan-14 17:26:20

Incidentally, I went to a villa with an unfenced pool with a 3 week old baby, a 2.5 yo and 3 other adults (Dh and a childless couple). They could not begin to understand my nervousness about the doors (there were many) being carelessly left open and my inability to take daytime naps, despite being a tired new mum. Then, whilst I was there eating lunch by the pool, my DD fell right in about 10 metres away. I have never run so quickly in all my life as I did at that moment (and I hold various sprinting records) whilst the others had not even had time to react. I would not trust my toddler DD (now grown up into a junior doctor) to any other adult with an unfenced pool on that basis. Honestly, I won't forget that and I would NEVER advise going away to an unfenced pool if you want a moment of peace whilst knowing your little ones are safe. Don't give in!

LightminTheQueem Tue 14-Jan-14 17:28:51

Ok, thanks all and so sorry to hear such sad stories. Will stick to my guns. I don't think the group we will be with have the vigilance to watch her all the time and we won't manage it between the two of us as have another child as well (also a worry as she can't swim either). I fear it will mean we go on hol on our own again this year sad

MrsFruitcake Tue 14-Jan-14 17:31:58

FWIW it is possible to stay somewhere unfenced but it is hard work, as I found out myself. DS was 3 at that time and the rule was that he wore a life jacket around the pool at all times which did work.

maillotjaune Tue 14-Jan-14 17:40:14

Where are thinking if going OP? We have been to lots of places in France where there are a few go see plus shared, fenced pool. Booked through Chez Nous. Might be worth a look.

Scrounger Tue 14-Jan-14 17:44:03

DH works in the travel industry and the worst things that he has to deal with are children drowning in pools, it isn't often but one is too many.

He also avoids hot tubs and turns the light on at night at the top of the stairs (a lot of people have accidents getting out of bed on the first night or two, not turning a light on and falling down the stairs.)

We took our DTs to a holiday with a pool this year, worked OK but not easy to relax and we had to be vigilent, probably wouldn't do it. We bought some pool alarms to be attached to them that would sound if they feel in the pool - didn't really work very feel, took ages to charge and the alarm went off if they weren't charged. Gave up on them. Not sure about relying on a life jacket they could just keep the child afloat but face down? Not sure.


But, whenever we go to SA to visit family, most pools are unfenced. Only my mum's are. There being lots of adults around isn't a guarantee of safety either, a back door is left open, someone thinks someone else is watching, etc.

Also, people think if a child falls into a pool they will float. They don't. They sink to the bottom like a stone, kids like to run around too, if the fall in and bump their heads on the side of the pool they could be knocked unconscious.

I investigated all sorts of pool alarms before our last trip, eventually settled an a Pool Turtle. Got it ( from the states) on ebay the last time we went, and two of the same colour wristbands. Welcome to PM me if you want more info. It's pricey but it wasn't really negotiable. I was in SA for 6 weeks, 3 weeks at the house with the most dangerous pool iykwim, it is hard to be super vigilant for that length of time. Kids wore them on their wrist or ankle. We had one near miss when DS slipped next to the pool and fell in halfway, leg in and torso out. Pool alarm worked perfectly.

I got a lot of very sceptical looks, couldn't care less. Hth and enjoy planning your holiday!

CailinDana Tue 14-Jan-14 17:52:59

Yanbu at all. Would you agree to go to a villa that had a massive uncovered hole in the garden? Why is it any better if the hole is full of water?

When my dsis was about 3 we were on holiday and she slipped while in the very shallow toddler pool. Both my parents were watching her but it still took them about 30 seconds to notice she had gone down s she didn't struggle at all, she just went totally still. Luckily they got her out and she was fine.

Amy106 Tue 14-Jan-14 17:56:09

YANBU, not at all. It only takes a few seconds for a tragedy to happen.

Annabel7 Tue 14-Jan-14 17:56:28

I've just been going through the same. Hunting high and low for a fenced pool that's heated (it's been too cold to swim in the last 2 holidays). Have found somewhere by googling heated fenced pool in [country you fancy]. Totstotravel are also good. YANBU - holidays are supposed to be relaxing and it's not worth the risk IMO...

TimeToPassGo Tue 14-Jan-14 17:57:56

My family have a villa with unfenced pool (extended family). We have all been out with DC at different stages but we were extremely vigilant. I agree that it is actually easier with small groups of adults as less likely to be careless / assume someone else is watching.

PS a pool alarm does not replace super vigilance! But I saw it as a extra layer of security I wasn't prepared to be without. Our base unit ran from mains electricity, no no issues with batteries running flat.

LightminTheQueem Tue 14-Jan-14 20:24:52

fantastic and prof your experiences sound terrifying, am not keen to have similar!

maillot I think that's the problem, we aren't bothered really but others prefer a particular area and it's proving difficult to find something that's meets all our needs and budget. Oh well, difficult chats to be had I think!

ItsATIARA Tue 14-Jan-14 20:34:01

14 months is probably slightly safer than 18 months to 3 years, because you'd need to be hyper-vigilant at that age anyway, regardless of pools, and they're not quite as quick. But still not worth the risk.

Rhubarbgarden Tue 14-Jan-14 21:08:24

I've done it for the last three years and will be doing it again this summer. Not by choice - PIL's place in France, whole family has to go every year very tedious.

It is not relaxing. I can't take my eyes off the dcs for a second. And this is with PIL who are ultra paranoid about pool safety (but still insist we all go and won't entertain the idea of fencing the pool) and SIL who has three toddlers of her own and who is also super-vigilant. Last year we had a rule that they all had to wear armbands in the vicinity of the pool. This year I am hoping that by the time we go, dd will actually be able to swim, which means I will only have one to watch like a hawk.

To be honest though, it's such a child-unfriendly place in so many ways that I can't take my eyes off them for a second anyway, so even if the pool was fenced I still wouldn't be able to relax.

And dh calls this a 'holiday'. hmm

coco44 Tue 14-Jan-14 21:15:33

well I don't know.i mean when you are at home does your baby go out in the garden unsupervised.
some people have front door that open directly onto the pavement, I guess some of them have toddlers

MoominsYonisAreScary Tue 14-Jan-14 21:32:18

We have more than once, but then I wouldnt leave a 14 mo unattended so it wasnt an issue and the pool was off the ground floor, livingroom bedroom on 1st floor

splashingingumboots Tue 14-Jan-14 21:46:42

Come on holiday to Australia - we have very very strict fencing laws here! In all seriousness though, don't risk it. There are accidents here every year. Usually things like a parent changing a younger child's nappy so older DC unattended for v small time period - usually only matter of minutes. Also cases of adults each thinking DC with the other one etc. I would love a house with a pool but won't consider it with young children - so many tragedies occur and in homes with loving, responsible parents I.e. it can happen to anyone no matter how vigilant you are.

I know here that if for example you hire a villa in Bali (our Spain in terms of family holidaying!) there are companies that hire out and set up temporary pool fencing - does that exist in France etc?

notso Tue 14-Jan-14 21:48:59

We did it last year with a 2.3 year old and an 11 month old.
We hired several safety gates and they had their buoyancy vests on all the time. When we were outside we had to be obviously very vigilant but even with the pool fenced off the DC would have been in and around it so we would have had to be vigilant anyway.

ceeveebee Tue 14-Jan-14 21:57:02

We've been twice to places with unfenced pools with our twins, at 10 mo (crawling so pretty easy to contain!) and 19 months old -made me nervous as hell and I never let either of them out of my sight - I kind of accepted that (to quote Giles Coren), a holiday with young children isn't a holiday, its just childcare in a different location! . This year when they'll be 2.5 a fenced pool will be a must for us

Slatecross Tue 14-Jan-14 22:05:47

I'm So glad I've read this thread. I have a 4 year old and 2x 3 year olds and we're about to go away on our first foreign jaunt with all 3 boys. My parents are coming too and we've been talkign about a 4/5 bed villa but there are hardly any without pools. Am now thinking an All Inclusive hotel, and requesting rooms as far away from the pool as possible.

ceeveebee Tue 14-Jan-14 22:29:12

This site has "alarmed/gated pool" as a search option and there are quite choices on there (depending when/where you want to go)

AliceinWinterWonderland Tue 14-Jan-14 23:17:59

Might I also recommend, as others have mentioned the common "thinking another person is watching", that people going on holiday with toddlers make sure that you and your OH are very clear exactly who is watching the toddlers when - it's far to easy for it to fall between the cracks, and when you have a group of adults, people think it's safer when it actually isn't.

AliceinWinterWonderland Tue 14-Jan-14 23:23:17

*too easy , not "to easy" sorry, spelling.

Gullygirl Wed 15-Jan-14 02:59:49

40 children drowned in swimming pools in Australia last year.
In my state,houses that are for sale which have pools/spas must,by law,be fenced.
Even so,children can work out locks,people can be careless,is leaving chairs etc by the fence which can be climbed on.
We have a pool,my children are not allowed near it without an adult. It has high metal railings all around,and a locked gate.

annielosthergun Wed 15-Jan-14 03:49:50

If you have only one child it's prob ok - mine is the same age and we are off to Thailand soon with an unfenced pool. I have to watch him constantly anyhow (seems to have a climbing death wish!) and am expecting only to relax during his lunch time nap! I have a trust no-one policy near water and will be watching (discreetly!) even when he is with DH / MIL because I am the only one really who appreciates how fast he is as I look after him day-to-day. So I guess I am saying it depends on you and if you are happy to always be watching...

BodaciousTatas Wed 15-Jan-14 06:48:07

We went with a company that's will fence the pool for an extra tenner, I am assuming with some kind of temp fence, they were an online co, if I remember the name I will link.

Devonsmile Wed 15-Jan-14 09:44:10

what ever you decide, get a pool alarm, because fenced pools lead to a false sense of security, the alarms are an extra bit of safety,

and get a zip in jacket.

Stinklebell Wed 15-Jan-14 09:50:33


If I'm paying £££ for a holiday I want to relax and enjoy myself. There's nothing relaxing or enjoyable about toddlers and unfenced swimming pools.

BeCool Wed 15-Jan-14 11:01:20

YANBU. - it's really unsafe. And it would cause you a lot of tension and stress. Aside from the safety issues it's YOUR holiday too and you deserve to go somewhere you can relax.

With a toddler/young DC I would be insisting on a fully fenced property with fenced pool.

Both my brother (pool) and sister (pond) had very scary encounters with water as toddlers. Not worth it.

BeCool Wed 15-Jan-14 11:06:12

I had a child nearly drown within meters of me in a public paddling pool a foot deep. Silent. Terrifying.

Sharaluck Wed 15-Jan-14 11:18:40

It think it mainly do depends on how mobile your 14 month old is. Not walking or walking? Very active or not so active?

If she is not yet walking confidently and not overly mobile I think it could be ok as long as the doors are kept closed/locked and she is supervised as usual.

If she is very mobile I would say no. Just as I would say no for all children aged 18 months to 6+ years (parents can assess their own children individually from then on ).

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