New pool rules dropped... for some

Last updated 10:47 01/02/2014

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The new adult:child safety ratios at New Plymouth district pools will no longer apply at pools in Oakura, Inglewood, Waitara and Fitzroy Beach.

The trial of the ratios by the New Plymouth District Council will continue at the Todd Energy Aquatic Centre until mid-February so staff can evaluate their effectiveness during the quieter period once schools have restarted for the year.

The strict ratios were introduced following the near-drowning of a 4-year-old at the Aquatic Centre in October last year.

The ratios require one adult or caregiver for every child under two years, one adult or caregiver per two children aged two to five, and one adult or caregiver per four children aged five to eight.

From Saturday the district pools would go back to the 'Pool Alone' provisions laid out by the ACC Poolsafe Quality Management Scheme. 

This meant children under the age of eight must be actively supervised by a caregiver 16 years or over and children under the age of two must be within arm's reach of a caregiver 16 years and over at all times.

"The safety of everyone in our pool facilities is our paramount concern," Ron Murray, NPDC manager of recreation and events said. 

"After further consideration we are confident that the shape, depth and general environment of each of the district pools mean they can operate safely under our previous 'Pool Alone' requirements. ''However, the Todd Energy Aquatic Centre is obviously much larger and busier and we want to trial the new ratios there a bit longer before deciding whether they should continue or be amended in some way."

The aquatic centre review will take place during the week starting 10 February and will take into account staff and customer feedback.During the school holidays, up to 1,000 children and adults have been using the aquatic centre each day.

The privately operated Methanex Bell Block Aquatic Centre, and Stratford and South Taranaki district councils are continuing their standard water safety regulations, which do not impose a stringent adult:child ratio.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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