Community safety

This section contains practical and helpful information you can use to keep yourself and others safe in a range of settings and activities.

Globally, drowning is a major cause of unintentional injury death for all ages. In New Zealand it’s the second highest cause for the 0-25yr age group, third highest cause across the population.

In response to alarming statistics such as these, an international task force on open water drowning prevention established theInternational Open Water Safety Guidelines for families and individuals recreating at any open water site.

Whilst any of these actions may increase your level of safety, using a combination / or all of them will offer the most protection.

Keep Yourself Safe

  • Learn swimming and water safety survival skills
  • Always swim with others
  • Obey all safety signs and warning flags
  • Never go in the water after drinking alcohol
  • Know how and when to use a lifejacket
  • Swim in areas with lifeguards
  • Know the water and weather conditions before getting in the water
  • Always enter shallow and unknown water feet first

Keep Others Safe

  • Help and encourage others, especially children, to learn swimming and water safety survival skills
  • Swim in areas with lifeguards
  • Set water safety rules
  • Always provide close and constant attention to children you are supervising in or near water
  • Know how and when to use life jackets, especially with children and weak swimmers
  • Learn first aid and CPR
  • Learn safe ways of rescuing others without putting yourself in danger
  • Obey all safety signs and warning signs

Some of these, such as providing close and constant attention to children in or near water, apply to any setting.

These guidelines also informed the development of the New Zealand Safety Codes, for outdoor, boating and water safety. You can find out more about these on the Safety Codes page.

In the Resources panel (right) you’ll find the Press Release, Guidelines and Dr Kevin Moran’s Poster presented at the Australian Water Safety Conference.

For further information on the Task Force and Guidelines visit the Seattle Children’s Hospital www.seattlechildrens.org/dp/