Spreading the water safety message

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Published: 22 February 2022

Spreading the water safety message

Huia Pool hosted Lower Hutt’s Myanmar community in January for a day of water safety.

The community approached Splashsave following a tragic event involving their community along the Manawatū River over summer. The water safety day was made possible thanks to SplashSave, Hutt City Council, and the Myanmar community working together in an effort to prevent this sort of tragedy from happening again.

SplashSave is passionate about water safety education and aims to provide community leaders with water safety knowledge and skills, particularly supporting parents and caregivers to be their child’s first swim teacher, while also upskilling the wider community on water safety.

“One of the best things about this initiative is that parents get more involved as they see it’s something simple and easy they can participate in. It was amazing to see reluctant parents jump in and get involved with their children on the day,” says Phil Waggot, Director of SplashSave.

“We really have made a difference to this community. It was a very powerful day in that respect. We’re really keen to work together to spread this and other water safety initiatives further in the future,” says Kay Lindsay, Hutt City Council Swim School Operations Manager.

On the day community leaders were taught simple things they can do at home to be more water aware, including always supervising children around water and not leaving bathtubs full. They were also taught how to identify the dangers at different aquatic environments such as oceans, rivers, and boats.

In the afternoon children and parents were invited into the pool so the community leaders could show off their new skills to family and friends. SplashSave provided their program to everyone so the learning and fun could continue at home.

"We want to thank Hutt City Council and SplashSave for their generosity in providing this program for our community. It is great to see families enjoying the water together and the learning that is going on with this. It is so important to learn these skills and this approach has really allowed our community to take the lead in this issue," said a representative from the Myanmar Community.

The community day was able to run free of charge through local funding from SplashSave, support from Water Safety NZ through Wai ora Aotearoa 2025 (Water Safety Strategy), and Hutt City Council providing a venue and staff.

SplashSave is planning another community day at the Stokes Valley Pool supported by Hutt City Council. People keen to become water safety leaders are being actively sought after. If you’d like to find out more get in contact with SplashSave by emailing info@splashsave.org.

Swim City tips for water safety:

  • Put your phones away – always watch your tamariki.
  • Don’t rely on siblings to watch younger children – they can be easily distracted. Be within arm’s reach of children under 5 years.
  • If you are swimming in unfamiliar environment know your dangers and check the environment before you allow your tamariki to go in the water. Colder water will tire your child very quickly, river currents can be very deceiving, and ocean rips can be unpredictable.
  • Do not overestimate your ability in the water. Have respect for the elements.