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ASHBURTON, 13 March 2019 - Ashburton District Council is getting behind a new water safety campaign in a bid to help prevent toddler drownings in Mid Canterbury.

The Council, together with Water Safety New Zealand and local irrigation companies, MHV Water, Barrhill Chertsey Irrigation, and Ashburton Lyndhurst Irrigation Limited, is pushing the importance of adult supervision around water, especially in rural parts of the district.

In the last 10 years, there have been 58 preventable toddler drownings in New Zealand. As a vibrant farming community, the Ashburton District has many water races, irrigation ponds, streams and rivers, most of which are not fenced or restricted, and many are often on private properties. These waterways can pose a deadly threat to unattended children," Ashburton District Council Chief Executive, Hamish Riach explained.

"It is not realistic to expect every waterway in rural areas to be fenced. With so many potential drowning hazards around, it is vital that everyone is keeping a vigilant eye on their young ones at all times. The Council is proud to be working in partnership with local irrigation companies and Water Safety NZ to help reinforce this crucial message."

This water safety video campaign features local residents delivering key messages on keeping children safe around water, with a focus on adult supervision. It highlights local environments and encourages people to take note of where waterways are, particularly when visiting farms or unfamiliar rural areas.

These key messages are built on the fact that it can take less than one minute for a child to drown.

People are encouraged to share the video with their networks on Facebook and/or YouTube to help get this message out to as many people as possible.

Council puts its support behind important water safety message


Keep Baby Safe with a Plunket Bathmat

The Plunket ‘water safety’ bathmat, is supported by Water Safety New Zealand. Bathmats are also delivered to whanau through iwi and Well Child Tamariki Ora providers. Bathmats are delivered to parents of infants five to seven months old. In total, 40,200 bathmats were delivered last year. 

Always use your Plunket Bathmat when bathing baby and be water safe.

Water Safety Around the Home

Your undivided attention when your child is around water could be the difference between fun, memorable, special bonding times - or tragedy.

Water Safety New Zealand is pleased to be partnering with Protector Aluminium promoting water safety around the home. Our messages are simple:

  • Make your home water safe by removing or isolating all potential water hazards
  • Pool fencing/barriers are mandatory and must be inspected every three years. Your local council will enforce this and will issue infringement and / or fix notices if required
  • Safety covers must be used as barriers for spa pools and hot tubs.

Protector Aluminium pool fencing is available at Bunnings. 


Water safety ambassador for toddlers and babies, Ameliaranne Ekenasio

Learn more about keeping babies and toddlers safe around water
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