Keeping pre-schoolers safe around water

A new partnership between YMCA Auckland, Plunket Auckland, and Auckland Council is increasing the push for zero drownings in the under-five age group across Auckland by offering half price swimming lessons for preschoolers at eight Council owned and operated pools.

In 2017, seven children under the age of five drowned in New Zealand, that’s two more than in 2016. Of those seven fatalities, five occurred in home pools. In that same year, a further 26 children were hospitalised as a result of near fatal drowning incidents.

YMCA Auckland and Plunket Auckland have, since 2017,  collaborated to deliver water safety sessions to 17,500 pre-schoolers via the four Auckland Council pools run by YMCA Auckland:

  • Lagoon Pool and Leisure Centre
  • Onehunga War Memorial Pool
  • Cameron Pool and Leisure Centre
  • Glen Innes Pool and Leisure Centre.

A new partnership between YMCA Auckland, Plunket Auckland and Auckland Council is increasing the push for zero drownings in the under-five age group across Auckland by adding another four Auckland Council owned and operated pools to the list:

  • Tepid Baths
  • West Wave Pool and Leisure Centre
  • Albany Stadium Pool
  • Manurewa Pool and Leisure Centre.

Auckland pre-schoolers aged three months to five years will have access to half price swimming and water safety lessons at all eight sites from 29th April 2019. Another five council pools will be brought into the fold over the next three years. The staff at participating pools receive training and education to ensure our water safety product is consistent across all eight sites.

Councillor Penny Hulse, Chair of the Council’s Environment and Community Committee, says “Being safe around water – whether it’s a pool, at the beach or river – is essential to living an active life in Auckland. This partnership will equip our young people with the knowledge and skills to be safe and survive in and around water.”

This article was written with information supplied by YMCA


  1. dawnblyth 02/06/2019 at 8:54 pm

    This is a great idea as I often think, well in my case anyway, that official lessons are so expensive and that is what stops us from putting our children into lessons. We try to go to the pools when we can but it not the same as lessons. Our ten year old is lucky he has access to a swimming pool regularly at school.

  2. SarahBlair 02/06/2019 at 4:45 pm

    This is a fantastic initiative! All councils should offer it. My eldest daughter had swimming lessons as a baby but my other kids haven’t, I can see the difference in her confidence around water

  3. kymmage 01/06/2019 at 12:44 pm

    This is great and so needed. Growing up in new Zealand, we are surrounded by water. Many people get themselves in trouble at the beach or in rivers and streams because they don’t know how to swim or because they over estimate their skills. I have taken my kids to the pools for years. We are also very lucky that their prary school has a pool and often free lessons.

  4. Alezandra 29/05/2019 at 9:05 pm

    I took my son for swimming lessons from when he was almost 2 years old. He loves the water and in the beginning I had to be with him in the water and he slowly learned to be by himself. He’s not afraid of water and he knows how to be cautious around it. Water safety is indeed important.

  5. MuddledUpMolly 28/05/2019 at 8:29 pm

    This is such an awesome initiative and I hope it is successful and it is rolled out across the country! What better way to try to bring those stats down than partially funding lessons to make access more achievable to a wider range of people.

  6. Micht 22/05/2019 at 9:44 pm

    I believe this is imperative… i personally dont know how to swim and i feel disadvantaged… i want my kids to be comfortable with the water and know what to do… planning on getting my 2 into classes this year…and possibly myself too

  7. Shorrty4life1 20/05/2019 at 1:03 pm

    What an awesome idea. Sad to see the stats for drowning and bear drowning in 2016 and 2017 in Auckland only. My children have been doing swimming lessons since first school years and they thoroughly enjoy it. I believe it’s so important!!

  8. Mands1980 15/05/2019 at 8:05 pm

    This is a great idea they should do this everywhere. Children at this age are so prone to drownings as they are very curious about water too. But once they hit school age they should be doing more as well. I know our school only does 5 30 min lessons for the year if they don’t go swimming any other time it is not enough to get confident.

  9. Bevik1971 14/05/2019 at 1:00 pm

    Great 🙂 My daughter who is now 6 was quite fearful of the water – since going swimming with her school she has improved no end! We took her swimming in the weekend and she really impressed me with how much more confident in the water she is now! Very important for kids to have lessons and time in the water 🙂

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