Parental Supervision at the Pool is Vital to Saving Lives

We are at the time of the year when parents and caregivers are starting to return to work, however our children are still enjoying the summer, typically at the local swimming pool. Following an increase of pool incidents over the summer Recreation Aotearoa and Water Safety New Zealand would like to warn parents of the dangers at the pool and remind them of their supervision responsibilities around children and water safety. Lifeguards are an important safety feature, but they are not intended to replace the close supervision of parents or caregivers. Constant supervision saves lives.

"There were seven preventable drowning fatalities in 2019 involving under-fives. Every one a tragedy for a family and a community that has a profound impact on society," said Water Safety NZ CEO, Jonty Mills. "We need every parent and caregiver to remember that constant active adult supervision of babies and toddlers around water is the only way to keep them safe. It takes less than a minute for a child to drown"

In 2019 Recreation Aotearoa and Water Safety NZ released a video campaign featuring water safety advocate and Silver Fern, Ameliaranne Ekenasio. The videos are designed to remind parents and guardians that accidents can happen in seconds and constant supervision is vital to saving lives.

As a water safety ambassador for toddlers and babies, Ameliaranne knows how important it is for parents and guardians to be vigilant and encourages them to get in the water with their children.

"Even if there are plenty of lifeguards at a pool, putting down your cell phone and making sure there are no distractions can mean the difference between life and death. As a caregiver you should support the lifeguard by giving the kids your full attention," says Ekenasio.

Recreation Aotearoa delivers the Poolsafe programme with Water Safety NZ, providing a way of assessing public pools to ensure that their operations and

facilities are safe. Currently, over 150 public pools in New Zealand are members of the scheme.

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