As the school holidays come to a close this weekend, Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) has renewed calls for parents to keep a close eye on their young children in and around the water.
The warning comes after recent figures showed that Queensland lifesavers and lifeguards rescued 720 children aged 12 or under in 2016/17.
SLSQ lifesaving services manager Peta Lawlor said lifesavers and lifeguards had enough on their plates already without having to act as babysitters.
“Most people are doing the right thing but, unfortunately, we’re continuing to see a lot of situations where parents will drop their kids off at the beach and leave them on their own for a few hours, which is nothing but a recipe for disaster,” she said.
“We know there’ll be a lot of families out enjoying the long weekend, and we’re calling on parents to not only set a good example by swimming between the flags, but to also hang around and supervise any of their young children as well.
“Even if it looks calm on the surface, the ocean can be a dangerous and unpredictable place at times and having an extra set of eyes could make all the difference.
“The same applies regardless of whether you’re at the beach or cooling off in a river, lake, dam, or creek,” she said.
With the recent warm temperatures expected to continue into the weekend, surf lifesavers will be out in force, and Ms Lawlor encouraged anyone heading to the beach for a swim to be extra careful.
“We obviously want people to enjoy themselves and make the most of the long weekend, but it’s important they don’t lose track of their own personal safety in the process,” she said.
“As always, the best way to protect yourself and your family is to swim only at patrolled locations and only between the red and yellow flags.”
Beach safety tips:
- Swim between the red and yellow flags
- Look for, and follow, the advice of safety signs
- Ask a lifesaver or lifeguard for advice
- Always swim with a friend where possible
- If you find yourself in trouble, don’t panic. Stick your hand up for help.
- Don’t swim at unpatrolled beaches
- Don’t swim at night or after consuming alcohol