Parenting & water safety

Part of our role as parents is to ensure our children have the tools they need to succeed in life. BEN CHRISTIE looks at how we can teach our kids to be safe in and around water.

Parents must take the lead when it comes to their children’s aquatic education – from the first bath onwards. It is crucial we give our children early positive and fun experiences in water, and as soon as they can take instruction, deliver water safety messages such as “never go near the water unless you’re with a grown up”.

To keep our little ones safe there is no replacement for active adult supervision at all times. Never leave a toddler unsupervised in a bath – it takes less than a minute for a child to drown. Avoid distractions like mobile phones when at the beach, river, lake or pool. Always swim between the flags – life guards are not babysitters and your child’s safety is your responsibility.

To help Kiwi kids understand the dangers presented by our waterways, how to assess risk and enjoy themselves safely, Water Safety New Zealand is rolling out Water Skills for Life to be taught in every primary school. This is a national aquatic education initiative for five to 13 year olds which gives them the knowledge and tools to stay safe in, on and around water. It is easier to teach than technical swimming and fun to learn. Encourage your child’s school to get involved today!

For more information about the course and advice about water safety go to watersafety.org.nz