Near-drownings prompt fresh warnings to not use life savers as ‘babysitters’

As the mercury soared to record temperatures during the Queensland school holidays, life savers say parents have been dropping their kids at the beach and leaving them unsupervised.

With still another week to go for the NSW holidays, Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) has renewed calls for parents to keep a close eye on their young children in and around the water.

“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,” SLSQ lifesaving services manager Peta Lawlor 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,” Ms Lawlor added.

The warning comes after two six-year-olds were rescued from swimming pools in the city this week.

While recent figures showed that Queensland lifesavers and lifeguards rescued 720 children aged 12 or under in 2016/17.

“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,” Ms Lawlor explained.

“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.”

A cool change is expected for the Gold Coast tomorrow, with a top temperature of just 21 degrees forecast for Surfers Paradise.