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Accident on Holiday – Family Hotels and the Risk of Injury?

The latest booking season for annual holidays is underway in the UK, as families up and down the country scour brochures and websites for that special hotel stay away with the kids.

Holiday Accident Claim

Simon Lomax, Simpson Millar’s Accident and Illness Manager says:

“Those parents taking young children on holiday should be wary, particularly those families who are travelling abroad for the first time. Unfortunately, it is extremely common for young and naturally boisterous children to suffer an accident on holiday through no fault of their own!”

Do not expect child friendly or British standards of health and safety abroad, even if your tour operator represents in brochures aimed at families that”;

"Your health and safety is of paramount concern to us, especially if children are involved…."

Tour Operators Avoid Paying Out

The reality is that tour operators, such as Thomas Cook, Thomson and First Choice, often hide behind what is commonly termed the ‘local standards defence’ to avoid paying compensation to children who are unfortunately injured in an accident on holiday.

Families wrongly expect that when they book a hotel advised as ‘suitable for children’ that their child’s safety will be of paramount importance, and that the accommodation provided would be subject to a rigorous and regular health and safety checks. However, many children return home injured or scarred from an accident abroad due to the failings of their tour operator!

Health and Safety at the Hotel

Is it too much to ask that advertised family friendly accommodation will feature?

  • Balcony railing at reasonable heights
  • Functioning smoke alarms
  • Well maintained electrical sockets
  • Patio doors constructed from reinforced or safety glass

In my opinion any reasonable parents would say “no”, especially as the safety of their loved one was being compromised. Many would simply choose an alternative hotel or travel with another tour operator.

Simon continues to say:

Reputation in the holiday industry is everything, and as a parent of young children myself, I would expect the tour operator to have made sure that advertised family accommodation had adapted to current health and safety standards in the country of their stay.”

“However, it is not unusual for tour operators, such as Thomas Cook, to drag young children through the courts challenging their claims for compensation for injuries sustained in accidents abroad. Despite claiming to monitor hotel safety, the company often to relies on the defence that an old hotel complied with all relevant health and safety standards when it was built way back in the Eighties!”

“Health and safety standards have improved over the years, particularly in European countries such as Spain and Portugal, and it is remarkable that some tour operators can claim that there is no obligation on its hoteliers to improve and comply with current EU standards to avoid accidents on holiday.”

  • Is child safety really of paramount importance when it comes to selling holidays?
  • Do tour operators care about you or just your money?
  • Were you warned that the accommodation contained health risks?

“No reasonable parent with a lively child would choose to stay in a hotel with dangerous glass patio doors and a balcony rail which could allure children to fall from height and cause them serious injury.”

“Railings can be raised and tour operators can insist on £15.00 being spent on safety film to protect children from lacerations caused by breaking annealed glass patio doors. If a hotel is unwilling to improve health and safety standards, then it should not be sold as a hotel suitable for families.”

“Safety standards can often be improved cheaply, and large tour operators should be exerting pressure on hoteliers to improve their standards to avoid children especially suffering an accident on holiday.”

Dated: 20/02/2012


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