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With days lingering long into the night and the thermometer continuing to rise, the lure of summer begins to play on everyone’s minds. However amongst the lazy days by the beach and pool, there are some important messages to remember when taking care of your family.

This year more than 65 people have already drowned in New Zealand waterways and pools.Shut The Gate (1)

Waikato District Health Board medical officer of health and chair of the national Child and Youth Mortality Review Committee, Dr Felicity Dumble, said pool drownings are preventable and now is the time to prepare.

“Each year we ask that anyone with a swimming pool does a routine fence check to make sure children can’t get into the pool area while unsupervised.  If anything is broken or deteriorated, please repair it,” she said.

Dr Dumble explained that children often work as a team and so what may not seem possible for one child to do alone can still become a hazard.

“These sorts of things include dragging a chair over and then using it to climb over a fence.”

But pool access is just one part of ensuring children stay safe over summer.

“We all like to relax at Christmas and during the holidays, but we need to remain vigilant about the children around us – and in some cases be even more so,” she said.

“Babies and young children need sober caregivers and appropriate supervision at all times, including during events like summer barbecues and gatherings at the beach.”

Dr Dumble also asked drivers and carers to remain vigilant when people are using driveways and vehicles.

“Remember to always thoroughly check for children before reversing,” she said.

“It’s all about remaining alert. That way we can keep our youngest New Zealanders out of harm’s way while we enjoy the holiday break.”

Local councils throughout New Zealand can offer guidance on ensuring your pool meets all the safety regulations.

Further information is also available at Water Safety New Zealand

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