12 December 2011
Plunket and Water Safety New Zealand are urging families to have fun but be safe around water this summer.
Sue Campbell, Plunket’s National Child Safety Advisor, says parents and caregivers need to keep a close eye on children when they’re near water and always stay within arm’s reach - whether a child is in the bath, at the beach or by a swimming pool.
“A child can drown in as little as four centimetres of water – which is not much smaller than the length of your little finger”, says Sue.
“We are a nation surrounded by water and we take part in lots of water-related activities, particularly during the hot summer months when families have time to get out and enjoy time together. Young children love playing with water and this is the perfect time of year to let them burn off energy and have some good clean fun.
“Being safe in the water doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun, you just need to be aware of the dangers”, she says.
Water Safety New Zealand says that a common factor in the tragic drownings of children four years and under is the lack of supervision around water.
“We urge parents and caregivers to always supervise children near water – always. This is equally important when out enjoying summer weather as it is at home,” Water Safety New Zealand General Manager Matt Claridge says.
“We also support families getting involved in learning about water together – having fun and becoming confident as a family group.
For more information contact
Plunket National Child Safety Advisor
027 244 4430
General Manager Water Safety New Zealand
0274 781 836
• All swimming and spa pools must be securely fenced
• Teach your child water safety rules such as waiting until an adult can get in the water with them, and not to run near pools
• Always stay with your child in and around the pool
• Remember that flotation aids such as arm bands or water rings do not keep your child safe.
Beaches, rivers, lakes and other swimming holes
• Be aware of possible hidden dangers such as rips and deep holes. Always stay in the water with young children.
• Always have your child within grabbing reach
• Watch children carefully if they are paddling or playing at the water’s edge
• Young children in any sort of boat must always have a life jacket on and wear a harness.
Around the house and garden
• Do not leave buckets or other large containers of water where a young child can reach them
• Keep bathroom and laundry doors shut
• Small children need to be supervised when playing in paddling pools. Always empty a paddling pool and turn it upside down to prevent water collection.
• Fish ponds, stock troughs, drinking ponds and other ornamental containers of water are a risk to children.
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