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Strong Water Safety Campaign.

Strong Water Safety Campaign.

A hard-hitting television ad campaign on water safety in New Zealand starts on Boxing Day.

Over the last year to June, watersport injury claims have cost New Zealanders nearly $14 million for ACC accident cover and rehabiliation.

ACC, together with Water Safety New Zealand, are determined to push a strong message over the holiday period urging everyone to think safe around water.

“One of the series of three ads is graphic and uncompromising and could upset some people,” said ACC chief executive Garry Wilson.

It shows how children’s seemingly innocent play around swimming pools can turn quickly to tragedy if they are left unsupervised, Mr Wilson said.

“It was deliberately created this way to stun people into thinking about the dangers posed to kids around water.
I make no apologies if the ad does upset some people –in fact, I hope it does. Parents need to be vigilant when their kids are around water.”

Nearly half the accidents around water involve under -14-year-olds, five to nine year-olds make up 15%, with the 10 to 14 year-olds at 25%, said Mr Wilson.

“It is horrifying when you see the kids in this ad just fooling about, the way children doing something innocent that ends in disaster.”

The other two ads showing the dangers of pleasure boating and swimming in rivers are part of a $1 million dollar water safety campaign over the next three years.

Over the past year nearly 1000 New Zealanders have been injured through swimming accidents. This is followed by boating at 271, surfing at 236 and water skiing at 177.

Swimming heads the watersport injury statistics at 52%, followed by boating at 15%, surfing at 13% and water skiing at 10%.

So far this year, 94 people have died from water sport accidents.

Ongoing claims (claims that continue on for more than the year in which the claimant was injured), have cost ACC $11.541 million, which together with this year’s claims, brings the total cost to $13.9million.

Last month, ACC gave $2 million to injury prevention research at Otago and Auckland Universities. Part of this research involves water safety.

ENDS

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