We are blessed to live in such a beautiful country and lucky to be surrounded by stunning beaches, rivers, and lakes. As summer brings on the heat and we head to our local pools and beaches to cool off, it's a good idea to refresh some of our water safety guidelines to ensure we keep ourselves and our tamariki safe this summer.
New Zealand's sun can be harsh and I'm sure those of us who have experienced uncomfortable cases of sunburn can testify to that.
As the saying goes; remember to "Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap"
Family life can be busy so plan ahead if you can. Here are some ideas:
Have a beach bag really to go so none of the important things are forgotten like sunblock - hats - sunglasses, towels, change of clothes.
Remember to keep hydrated and take plenty of water.
Keep snacks handy or pack a lunch.
Bringing something light and cool to throw over your swimming togs after swimming, especially for the little ones with delicate skin.
Take a beach umbrella or tent incase there is little shade available.
ALWAYS swim between the flags
As all parents know, kids can be fast runners and can make a beeline for the water edge before you realise. Keep children within arm's reach as currents are ever-changing with some large and forceful waves that can unexpectedly knock little ones off their feet. It only takes two seconds for a child to go under so giving them your undivided attention will keep them safe.
Children should wear tight fitting life jackets at all times. Adults should also wear life jackets, not just for their own safety but to set a good example to the children.
Pool Safety :
If you're at a private pool, firstly check fences and lockable gates are secured before you head in for a swim and remove anything that might be lying around that your child may harm themselves on. Inflatable toys and water rings are great for having fun. Always make sure there is always an adult present around water, never leave a child unsupervised, and empty paddling pools after use.
Picnicking by a river or water hole is another great idea to cool off , it pays to do a check before swimming as rivers can be deceptive where the water often moves faster than it appears. Researching your swimming spot, look out for logs and rocks. If there are “no swimming” signs posted near the waterway, don't enter it!
See below helpful links with further informative around water safety and some of NZ's great places to visit.
Buddy up! Always swim with a partner, every time — whether you're swimming in a backyard pool or in a lake.
Get skilled. It's good to be prepared
Know your limits.
Swim in safe areas only.
Be careful about diving.
Watch the sun.
Drink plenty of liquids.