An online flight comparison company has revealed that as many as 1 in 6 British parents have lost their children whilst on holiday before, with the child returning typically within 4 minutes. According to the poll, usually the most common places for parents to lose track of the children are the pool, the beach or a shopping area.

New research has unveiled just how many parents have lost track of their children while on family holidays and the places where this is most likely to occur; with pools, beaches and shopping areas posing the most risk for families.

The team at www.Jetcost.co.uk undertook the survey as part of an ongoing study into how families holiday abroad, particularly when it comes to children. 2,186 British parents were quizzed about their family holidays, all of whom were aged 18 and over, had at least one child between the ages of 3 and 10 years old and had been on a family holiday at least once in the past year. 

Initially, all respondents were asked “Have you ever lost your child or children while on holiday abroad?”, to which one in six parents, 16%, stated that they had. The team then asked these parents where they or their family had been when this happened, to which the top five responses were:

1.      In/around a swimming pool – 24%
2.      At a beach – 20%
3.      In a busy shopping area – 20%
4.       At an activity centre e.g. theme park, playground – 19%
5.       In the resort e.g. corridors between rooms – 15%

All parents polled who had lost children abroad were asked how long their child had been lost for, to which the average length of time was four minutes.

When asked about the search party required to find the child, two thirds (68%) had called upon other family members or friends to help and more than two in five (41%) had asked strangers about their child’s whereabouts, but just one in ten (11%) had alerted officials or staff. All those who had not alerted officials were asked why, to which the most common answer was ‘I was too embarrassed’ (49%).

Wanting to determine if this was something various European parents had also experienced, the team polled 1,000 European parents from Spain, France, Germany and Italy (an even 25% split amongst the countries) and asked them if they’d ever lost their child when holidaying abroad. The results were as follows:

·         Spain – 20% (said yes, they have lost their child at least once)
·         Germany – 19%
·         Italy – 16%
·         France – 12%

A spokesperson for Jetcost.co.uk commented:

“It’s hard to keep your eyes on your children 24/7, that’s a given, and it’s trickier still on holiday where there’s lots of distractions and it’s easy to get a little too relaxed. That being said, when abroad, parents should always remain vigilant; you are less familiar with your surroundings, as are your children, and you don’t know who’s around you. If you want to take a break, a bit of you time or alone time with your partner, most resorts have kid’s clubs, crèches or babysitters that you can take full advantage of – and why not, it’s your holiday too.”