SUMMER is here and now thousands of families are about to jet off for a sunshine getaway.

Spain, Majorca, Turkey, the Greek Islands as well as long haul destinations such as Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Mexico are the most popular holiday hotspots for Brits. But not everyone is guaranteed a great time.

Foreign Office figures show that between 2016-2018 nearly 4500 Brits have ended up in A&E abroad after being injured in Spain, Portugal, Greece, Turkey, Egypt and Cyprus.

Many holidaymakers return home with nothing more than a sore head or skin from too much drink or sunburn but for others there are life changing injuries from illness or accidents.

Nick Harris Head of Travel at Simpson Millar Solicitors believes many of these accidents could be easily avoided.

He said: “As soon as we step onto the plane we are on holiday mode and people let their guard down and behave differently.

"Levels of hygiene and health and safety abroad are nowhere near as strict as the UK, so you have to be wary at all times.

"People often do things they would never normally do at home and that is when they get into trouble.

"Excited children often end up with life changing injuries after bumping into balcony doors which shatter on impact or adults or teenagers are badly injured at poorly constructed waterparks or by slipping by the pool or in the hotel.

"When we lie down on our beach towel we forget all the rules and take more chances.

"We have dealt with hundreds of cases where people have suffered life changing injuries from accidents.

"Getting in trouble is not on anyone's holiday to-do list - but you have to keep your wits about you to keep you and your family safe."

Here Nick gives his run down on how to keep your family safe abroad this summer:

BEWARE OF THE POOL

Toddlers are at the most risk of drowning in their hotel pool usually on the first or last day of their holidays.

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Children in difficulty or struggling to swim don’t usually scream for help or wave for their parents, they just sink to the bottom of the pool. Parents should get their kids to swim in front of manned hotel lifeguard towers and take extra precautions with armbands at the start and end of holidays.

Also keep an eye out for broken tiles in the pool or a dirty film around the edge as these can be signs of poor pool maintenance.

WATERPARKS

Lots of families enjoy water parks abroad safely but poor construction can sometimes mean serious injury to the unwary. Hundreds of Brits are injured every year either on slides or slipping while walking on wet floors.

Incredibly some insurance policies do not cover families for any injuries on waterparks outside their hotel resort as it is categorised as a “hazardous activity."

So check your policy document before you leave your hotel to see if you are covered. If you are injured on your resort waterpark and you are on a package holiday, you will still be covered under the Package Travel Regulations.

HOTEL BAR

The bar is the place that most Brits make a beeline for abroad but they can also be a place of danger.

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Waiters in resorts in Turkey and Greece like showing off their extreme bar tending skills which can include fire eating and setting the bar on fire with alcohol. This can result in unwary tourists suffering second or third degree burns when the bar staff accidently coat them in fiery liquid.

Make sure you wait until bar staff have finished their performance before ordering a drink.

BUFFET

Buffets can be host to all manner of dangers including slippy floors and caustic liquids in the juice dispensers, as well as bacteria that can cause food poisoning.

Tourists in all-inclusive resorts such as Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Mexico often complain of poor hygiene practices with chefs using the same utensils to handle cooked and uncooked meat and failing to wash their hands whilst preparing food.

For the last four years, hundreds of Brits have been struck ill in the popular Brit resort of Riveria Maya in Mexico with crippling sickness bug Cyclospora.

THE BALCONY

Safety standards in some countries are not as strict as in the UK and many young children have been inured falling off balconies or getting cut by shattered balcony door glass.

Balconies abroad are often low enough for kids to climb over or slip through the railings and in many countries there is no requirement for safety or toughened glass to be used on balcony doors.

Parents simply imagine their kids will bounce off doors like they do in the UK but instead they shatter leaving horrific injuries.

To try and prevent this happening keep a chair in front of balcony doors to stop children running into them.

THE BATHROOM

The shower hose or taps or air conditioning unit may be hiding potentially deadly Legionnaires disease spores which if ingested can kill or can cause long term respiratory problems.

Legionnaires disease is a killer bacteria that is found in stagnant pipes and causes respiratory problems and every year up to 300 Brits are affected.

So when you get into your room make sure you run the taps and showers for at least 10 minutes with all the windows and doors open before use.

ON THE BEACH

Water sports including parascending, camel rides and jet skis are a must for some holidaymakers.

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But often when people are injured they have signed a disclaimer stating they will not sue in case of injury or accident. Also your insurance may also not cover your accident as it is classed as a risky activity.

So check your travel insurance beforehand and also the small print before signing any consent forms for any beach activities. If it doesn't look right try somewhere else.

ON THE ROAD

People need to be careful when hiring a car, quad or moped as you could be taking your life into your hands. Three times as many people are killed on the roads in Bulgaria as the UK and in Thailand the risk increases to up to eight times.

Make sure you get a quad, bike or car hire with a reputable company as otherwise you may be getting into a death trap. If you do hire a car make sure you turn the engine over and look at it underneath to see if there are any major problems or leaks