Parents will feel safer and more confident with their children around water after participating in a FREE family water safety and aquatic competency programme run by WaterSafe Auckland (“WAI”) on offer at 20 Auckland locations this month.

Whānau Nui starts on January 19, providing one session a day for five days, expecting to directly benefit more than 1500 children and parents / caregivers.

In a country where drowning is the third highest cause of accidental death there are still too many families that have not had the opportunity to gain the knowledge and learn the skills necessary to keep themselves and others safer around water.

“Whānau Nui seeks to address that gap and we urge families to take advantage of this great opportunity,” says WAI Chief Executive Jonny Gritt.

“The tragic drowning toll over the holiday period alone highlights the need for everyone to take water safety more seriously” he said.

One of the participation criteria is that a parent or caregiver is in the water with their child during each of the lessons, and while this will be a new and possibly challenging experience for many, evaluation of previous programmes has highlighted Whānau Nui’s ability to provide them with a wide range of skills they can use to continue teaching their children, their whānau and take back into their community. The programme also builds their own competence and confidence in and around water.

The most important skill for parents, particularly in the younger age groups is an understanding of what active supervision really means says Jonny – keeping children within sight, sound and reach, without distraction. They need to be able to see where the young ones are, what the risks are and how to prevent anyone getting in to difficulty.

WAI is pleased to be delivering Whānau Nui once again, with the support of Auckland Council, and in collaboration with Auckland Council Pools, CLM SwimMagic Swim School, Fulton Swim School, Swimgym Swim School, Swimsation Te Atatu, Waterhole Swim Centre and YMCA Swim Schools.

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