5 April 2012
Little Kayden Williams from Wainuiomata became New Zealand’s 105,000th five month old to receive a free bath mat – a reminder for his parents about the importance of water safety – today.
Water Safety New Zealand and Plunket have – since March 2010 – been gifting bath mats and talking water safety with parents at Plunket’s Well Child five-month checks - in a bid to combat New Zealand’s shocking under five drowning rates.
Water Safety New Zealand chief executive Matt Claridge says the aim of the campaign is for the distribution of the bath or shower mats to begin the water safety conversation with parents early.
“47 New Zealand children under five years old have drowned during the past five years (2007-2011) and over half of these deaths occurred in the home environment.
“By raising awareness of the statistics with parents and discussing why children must be actively supervised when in the bath or around water - that’s within arms reach at all times - we’re confident we can prevent future fatalities,” he says.
Plunket’s national child safety advisor Sue Campbell says the delivery of 105,000 bath mats is a significant milestone in a campaign that is generating a positive response.
“Families are telling us the mats are an effective visual reminder about the importance of bath and broader water safety measures and that they are generating a positive change in behaviour.”
Ms Campbell says Plunket is excited about the programme’s potential to help keep New Zealand’s children safe around water.
“As babies become more mobile they’re at increasing risk – baths, buckets and of course home pools represent significant danger. The mats provide a great vehicle to discuss water safety before these children are on the move.”
Matt Claridge says 2011’s terrible drowning stats -14 children under the age of five drowned – further reinforces the rational behind the campaign.
“We can’t afford to be complacent. We’re confident that if we continue to hammer home the messages to parents of young children – especially, keep your child within arms reach around water – this initiative will in the longer term show some very positive results.”
For further information please contact:
Matt Claridge - WSNZ Chief Executive
04 801 9600
027 478 1836
Sue Campbell - Plunket National Child Safety Advisor
03 470 0505