Make sure you can always Reach, See and Hear young children under your responsibility in and around water. Be aware of all potential water hazards, put appropriate safety precautions in place and be prepared.
This is the plea from WaterSafe Auckland in an effort to prevent children drowning over the coming holiday season.
“Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for children in New Zealand,” says WaterSafe Auckland Business Manager Teresa Stanley.
The good news is that drowning is preventable and as holiday plans are made we want parents and caregivers to think about the simple things they can do to help keep their children safer.
“Most importantly,” says Teresa, “is that they should always ensure there is a designated adult to actively supervise children at all times and that means being within sight and reach, and without distraction.”
You can also help minimise the risks by identifying potential water hazards and addressing them where possible she says.
“This includes the portable spa or swimming pool that might be lurking under your Christmas tree that may also need to be fenced, just like an in-ground pool,” she says.
With a little planning and care families can enjoy their time around water these holidays.
Safety tips to keep children safer around water this summer
Always ensure there is a designated adult actively supervising young children anywhere near water, especially at social gatherings.
A supervisor must be a responsible, capable adult or caregiver over the age of 16 years.
Never over-estimate a child’s ability to cope in the open water environment (e.g. beach) even if they have had swimming lessons. They are very different environments.
Your children are your responsibility at pools or beaches even if lifeguards are present. It is not the lifeguard’s job to supervise your children.
Learn about beach safety, choose to swim at a patrolled beach and swim between the flags.
Water toys can provide hours of fun but learn how to use them safely.
Be aware of your Council compliance responsibility to keep your pool safer and remember that this also includes portable swimming and spa pools.
Know child and infant CPR.
If you are travelling to a new destination familiarise yourself with the environment and identify any potential risks to your children, such as waterholes or ponds.
Create safe play areas and establish safe water play rules with your children, such as always having an adult with them when they are in on or around water.
Water hazards may not always be so obvious, such as drains, creeks or containers that may fill during rain. Anything that can hold 40mm or more of water, such as washing buckets or rainwater-collection containers are all potential hazards so it is critical to minimise or eliminate those risks.
Empty paddling pools after use and store them away.
Always use a child's lifejacket for children. It a lifejacket is too big they will just slip out of it.
For more information or interviews contact:
WaterSafe Auckland Inc.
P 027 285 9045