In New Zealand we see a significant number of preventable drowning fatalities within the under 5 year old age group. Most of these happen around the home environment, with almost half in home pools. There has also been an increase in drownings in environments outside, but close to the home, such as ponds, drains, farm troughs, creeks, and estuaries.
Early Childhood Education
There are many water safety resources that your local childcare centres and yourself can use to teach water safety. Below we have outlined two books and one pack that can be used to engage and educate your child.
Where is Rubber Duckee? Is a wonderful story about water safety that is designed to be read to children by teachers and caregivers.
The story and illustrations contain many water safety messages and themes that can be discussed with the children resulting in an expanded discussion about what is safe and best practice.
The whole community is responsible for safeguarding pre-schoolers from drowning. This can be achieved:
- By raising the awareness of teachers, caregivers and children about water safety issues;
- By changing people’s attitudes and behaviours so that they can create safe environments in and around the home and
- Through the constant and vigilant supervision of children at all times when they are in, on or around water.
As well as the book we provide water safety resources that can be given to parents, caregivers and children to reinforce the water safety messages and prompt responsible actions around water.
The teaching notes can be accessed here
To download the book (in PDF form) go here
Introducing Pippa and Paul - the great water safety discussion book
'Pippa and Paul playing safely’ provides the opportunity for you and your child to discuss various water safety dangerous situations.
There are eight scenarios in this picture book which you can use to stimulate discussion with your child by using a piece of paper which is used to remove yourself from the picture giving you the opportunity to talk to your child about what happens when you aren’t about.
The need for adult supervision is paramount through the book and it is a good idea to take your time over a number of sessions to enable you to talk to the various topics at a more leisurely pace.
To download Pippa and Paul click here
Teach your child water skills
SplashSave’s ‘Swim to Survive’ programme aims to reduce drownings by helping parents and caregivers become their child’s first swim teachers.
The programme gives parents and caregivers the skills they need to teach their child the basics in aquatic education.
SplashSave focuses from birth to five-year old and teaches them water survival techniques - a pre-curser to traditional swimming lessons.
Comprising of five units, Swim to Survive is filled with fun games that are played with children in the pool and it builds on skills from baby’s first bath and preschool swim skills, right through to water safety at beaches, rivers and on boats. It is written in an easy to understand format and it includes five waterproof lesson plans and certificates to mark achievements along the way.
A number of these packs are being distributed to Kohunga and Early Childhood Centres throughout New Zealand and they can be borrowed in order for you to teach your child. They can also be purchased at the SplashSave website
Read more about this initiative below: