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Kids, cars, sun and water


Kids, cars, sun and water

Little children are vulnerable and totally dependent on the good care and supervision of their parents, particularly when it comes to cars, sun and water”, says Sue Campbell, Plunket’s national safety adviser.

“All children deserve the very best protection they can get. Young children who experience illness, injury or ill-treatment can experience negative consequences throughout their lives arising from these experiences.

“As we anticipate summer activities and fun it is wise for parents to also anticipate risks for their children and plan to protect their children from these, particularly those that involve cars, sun and water,” she said.

Plunket has a vision of New Zealand’s children being among the healthiest in the world. Supporting parents with practical information on keeping their children safe is a key part of that goal. Ends

Safety in cars

It is likely that most families spend more time in their car in summer than they do at other times of the year or perhaps they just travel further than at other times. The car is a convenient way of getting around but there are precautions parents can take to keep children safe in cars at all times.

The most essential pieces of safety equipment are your own and your children's safety belts and child restraints. While adults can do all they can to ensure they travel safely by keeping their whole car in good running order, travelling at a safe speed, never drinking and driving and avoiding driving when they are very tired accidents can still happen, safety belts and child restraints are the most important form of protection available. Everyone is legally required to use them at all times when travelling in a car.



It is really important to never leave your child alone in a car, even for a few minutes. Children overheat in stationary cars very quickly. Cars have been stolen with young children in them. Leaving older children in the cars with the little ones is no protection. Older children may fight, get out of the car and wander off or touch equipment such as brakes.

You can also protect your child in the car and on the road by:

Using child locks if they are fitted

Teaching your child to get out on the footpath side.

Removing the car lighter and any other unsafe objects and materials from the car.

Staying with your children always when they are on roads, driveways and other areas where cars are moving around. Ends

Sun safety

Sunburn can cause painful burns and lead to long term skin damage and risk of skin cancer later in life. It takes remarkably little exposure to summer sun to lead to burns.

Babies burn very quickly in the sun and it is best to keep them in the shade all the time when they are outside. Children can burn even on a cloudy day. You can protect them from sunburn by:

Making sure young children always wear hats or caps with flaps when they are outside.

Keeping children well covered up with clothes that cover their arms, legs and bodies.

Restricting the amount of time they spend playing in direct sunlight.

Using a sunscreen on exposed parts of the body. Use a SPF 15+ broad spectrum sunscreen. When buying sunscreen be sure to check the expiry date.

Set a good example – wear a hat outside and cover up with suitable clothing. It is no longer cool to be fried brown. Ends

Water safety

Babies and young children can drown very quickly and silently in as little as four centimetres of water. Young children love water and are attracted to it. They must be carefully supervised around any water – in the bath or house, in the garden, and at the beach or swimming pools.

Over summer you may be going to places you are not familiar with – always check for water hazards and, supervise your children well.

One of the biggest dangers is the home swimming pool. Each summer very young children drown in domestic pools which aren't fenced to comply with The Fencing if Swimming Pools Act, or at a time when supervising adults are distracted.

When boating use life jackets for everyone and at the beach or river supervise at all times.

Remember - four centimetres of water is all it takes and the little child drowns silently. SUPERVISE AROUND WATER AT ALL TIMES


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