Watch me, not your cellphone

The New Zealand Recreation Association is reminding caregivers to keep an eye on their little ones at pools in their new Poolsafe campaign.

According to Water Safety New Zealand, on average six infants under the age of five drown each year with a further 34 hospitalised, with 87 per cent of these incidents attributed to inadequate adult supervision.

Tracey Prince, Aquatics Programme Manager at NZRA said “The posters are designed to remind parents and guardians that accidents can happen in seconds. Even if there are plenty of lifeguards at a pool, putting down your cellphone and making sure there are no distractions can mean the difference between life and death. As a caregiver you should support the lifeguards by giving the kids your full attention.”

NZRA 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 140 public pools in New Zealand are members of the scheme.

“We think this is a great campaign that delivers a really important message in a really effective way” says Jonty Mills, CEO Water Safety NZ. “It’s timely because last year there were seven under-5 preventable fatalities – there really is no other answer than constant active adult supervision.”

The project was created by Massey University design graduate, Gretchen McAleer, who was inspired by her work as a lifeguard.

“I was a lifeguard for 6 years and the accidents and near misses that I witnessed in that time prompted me to do something about supervision awareness. Accidents can happen so quickly – I really hope that these Poolsafe posters make a difference.”


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