As Kiwis, we love the water - playing or swimming in it, boating or sailing on it, or simply enjoying our stunning coastline, beaches, lakes and rivers. But sadly, every year, a large number of New Zealanders lose their lives to drowning. So how do we keep our children safe in and around water?
Top 5 Tips
1. Make sure your child knows how to swim. Water Safety New Zealand believes that if a child can swim 200m in a pool, they will have sufficient skills to save themselves in most situations.
2. Always be within an arm’s reach of young children and never take your eyes off them when they’re in the water.
3. It’s important to be aware of the dangers. Swim at a patrolled beach between the flags, always enter the water feet first as you don’t know how deep or shallow the water is etc. A good motto is: ‘If in doubt, stay out’.
4. Teach your child what to do if they get caught in a rip. Stay calm, float on their back and put their arm up even if they’re not on a patrolled beach. An arm up = ‘I’m in trouble’.
5. Know your limits. Unless you’re a trained lifeguard, it’s much safer to raise the alarm and call 111 than to jump in the water and try to save someone.