Ahh … summer days spent cooling off at the beach, splashing in the pool, or relaxing out on the boat – we dream of them all winter. But don’t let your dream turn into a nightmare. Here are some top tips to keep water safe no matter where you are.
REMEMBER: Drowning is a silent action and can take only a minute. You will not know if your child needs help if you are not watching them.
At the beach
- If there are Surf Live Savers, always swim between the flags
- If you need help, raise your arm and call for help. Keep calm
- If the sea is rough, do not go in
- Never swim alone or at night or while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Never run and dive into the water
- Even if the Surf Life Savers are on hand, never let your young child in the water without an adult
- If you get caught in a rip, do not panic. Paddle and swim parallel to the shore toward the breaking waves. Don’t fight the rip
- Always make sure at least one adult is looking out for the child/ren. Take it in turns and have a formal handover between adults
- Floating on a lilo or similar is fun in the pool, but not wise at the beach as it is easy to get dumped by waves or carried out by currents or wind.
For more information on beach water safety for home pools, visit WaterSafe New Zealand – beaches
At the pool
Kids screaming, laughing and having fun in the pool is a treasured part of life in New Zealand. Sadly pools can also be dangerous – drowning is the second major cause of accident death for pre-school children and home swimming pools represent the greatest single danger.
Home pools and spa pools
- Ensure the your home pool meets the requirements under the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act (1987)
- A pool is defined as any excavation, structure or product containing water over 400mm deep that is used or is capable of being used for swimming, wading, paddling or bathing and includes spa and inflatable pools
- Some local authority areas may allow portable spa pools 760mm above the ground with a rigid, lockable cover to not require fencing. Contact your local authority
- Pools must remain empty until an approved complying fence is installed. You will need to contact your local council regading consent
- Fencing is not enough to keep children safe though – ALWAYS supervise your children in the pool – there is no substitute for supervision, no matter how water confident your child is
- Children drown quietly – always visually supervise the pool
- There should always be at least 1 adult supervising
- Do not run around a pool – always walk
- Check for others before entering the water
- Do not read, text, chat or snooze while supervising
- Floatation aids and swimming lessons are not a substitute for supervision
- Do not have your BBQ area in the pool area
- Do not use the pool area as a thoroughfare to another area eg clothes line
- Never dive into above ground pools. Dive only at the diving board end of an inground pool
- If a child is missing, ALWAYS check the pool first
Remember, to make sure your home pool stays hygienic for the whole family, infants and toddlers should swim in nappies.
For more information on water safety for home pools, visit WaterSafe New Zealand – pools
- Always visually supervise your child even if there are lifeguards present
- Do not read, text, chat or snoose while supervising children in the pool
- Never run around the pool, always walk
- Check for others before entering the water
- Check the rule of the public pool and adhere to them
- Listen to the instructions of the lifeguard
Remember, to make sure the pool stays hygienic for other families, infants and toddlers should swim in nappies.
On the boat
Boating is exiciting – but also requires some special rules to make sure everyone is safe.
- All on board should wear a properly fitting life jacket at all times
- Consider using a harness for young children
- When there are children on board, there needs to be at least 2 adults
- If children are waterskiing, biscuiting etc there needs to be at least 1 adult available on board to ‘spot’ ie observe the child on the water at all times
- Teach children about the dangers and risks when boating. Ensure they learn to swim
- Make sure everyone is sitting safely and holding on when travelling in a boat
- Never drink alcohol when boating
- Keep an eye on the latest marine forecast
- The skipper is legally responsibly for the safety of all on board
- Always carry at least two reliable means of communication
For more boat safety information, visit WaterSafety New Zealand – boating
For more water safety advice, visit WaterSafety New Zealand
Remember, drowning is a silent action and can take only a minute. You will not know if your child needs help if you are not watching them.