New pool rules improving safety

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NEW rules introduced at Invercargill’s Splash Palace in October to improve the safety of young swimmers appear to be having the desired effect, with only two rescues so far over the holiday break.
‘‘That is significantly less than in previous holiday periods,’’ aquatic services manager Peter Thompson said.
The two children, aged 3 and 6, were rescued in two separate incidents between December and January, but neither child required hospital treatment, he said.
Following five near drowning incidents at the aquatic centre in August, staff implemented new measures to ensure young children were better supervised at the pool, including the introduction of colour coded wristbands to be worn by young children to make them easily identifiable as needing to be closely monitored.
‘‘We are not doing this to be difficult, but to ensure children are safe,’’ Mr Thompson said.
Since the new rules were intro› duced, staff had seen a reduction in the number of rescues and fewer parents distracted on cellphones,he said.
Staff had also noticed more parents swimming with their chil› dren.
‘‘This is fantastic… Parents are spending more quality time with their kids. We have certainly seen a much safer environment for kids to swim in.’’
Splash Palace’s new rules went further than the national 2002 pool› alone policy required.
‘‘While we are doing more than the national standards require, [that] is often needed to affect change which is ultimately benefi› cial to everybody.
‘‘We feel we are on the right track with the wristbands, as staff can now easily identify children who need to be actively supervised and mitigate the risk.’’
Parents were reminded not to leave their young children unsuper› vised at the pool over the school holidays, he said.
If a child was deemed to be insufficiently supervised by a parent or guardian, the child would be asked to leave the pool, Mr Thomp› son said.
‘‘The role of the lifeguards is to supervise the pool. They are not babysitters.’’

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