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Watch your children around water

10 Feb 2011

Watch your children around water

The drowning of a 2-year-old girl in a public swimming pool on Saturday must serve as a reminder to all parents that they have to watch their children around water at all times says Olympic Pool manager Hendrik Geyer. Nylah Faamanu Vau, of Manurewa, was found in 1.6m deep water at Waiwera Thermal Resort north of Auckland. Lifeguards entered the pool but were unable to resuscitate her.

“Water is a fun environment, especially when the Gisborne summer serves up 35 degrees. The Olympic Pool is a popular destination and is a great place for families to spend quality time together. We have a team of 25 staff during summer and every one of them is dedicated to providing an enjoyable and safe environment for our customers and particularly for young children. However, we need the understanding and the support of parents and caregivers when it comes to supervising children.”

The Olympic Pools PoolAlone policy requires all children less than 8 years to be actively supervised by a caregiver 16 years or older.

“Ninety-five percent of parents are good, responsible parents, of course. It is the 5 percent of families that take a casual or at times completely irresponsible approach to the supervision of their children that we struggle with. We see people who allow their 3-year-old to disappear out of sight for 20 minutes, while they are having a BBQ in the shade, with 1,500 people in the pools. We see adults leave the pools to go shopping, while their 4-year-old is left in the care of a 10-year-old cousin. We hear people tell us they thought that aunty is watching their toddler, when aunty is actually doing something else.”

“Lifeguards are an important safety feature at our pool, but they are not intended to replace the close supervision of parents or caregivers. It is a lifeguard’s responsibility to deal with unattended children at the pool and return them to their caregivers. It is our number one job to protect the lives of innocent children and to educate irresponsible parents.”

“If there is anything good that can come out of the death of little Nylah it is that all parents will take it as a reminder that supervision of children around water should be constant and close. Nylah drowned in the few seconds that her mother was distracted,” said Mr Geyer.  

The mother is quoted as saying “I turned my back for a moment and she was gone. She’d fallen in the deep end.”

Never under any circumstances leave you children alone!

“Our hearts, our thoughts and prayers should be with the Vau family. It is impossible for most of us to comprehend the scale of such a tragedy. But remember your child – your responsibility. Na tatou nga tamariki, ma tatou hei tiaki.”