Lifeguards issue a warning as a heatwave hits Armidale

FUN IN THE SUN: Makenzie Burton and Georgia Brodbeck cooled down during the heatwave that hit Armidale this week at Monckton pool.

FUN IN THE SUN: Makenzie Burton and Georgia Brodbeck cooled down during the heatwave that hit Armidale this week at Monckton pool.

TEMPERATURES exceeded 30 degrees this week and lifeguards have issued a warning.

Monckton Aquatic Centre lifeguard Billy Vale said there are a number of safety precautions parents should be taking at the pool this summer.

“If you’re taking your kids to the pool, you need to keep eyes on them, have plenty of water, sunscreen and plenty of shade,” he said.

“A lot of parents assume lifeguards are babysitters, but we’ve got a lot of people to look after, if parents can keep an eye out it helps to keep everyone safe.”

Mr Vale has worked as a lifeguard for 18 years and recommended that parents be within an arms-length of their child at all times.

“It’s very easy for parents to take their eyes off their kids for a moment, you only need to be distracted for a couple of minutes and a child can drown,” he said.

With the UV Index in Armidale reaching an average of 17, compared to 5 in lower coastal areas such as Sydney, Mr Vale reminded parents to ensure children wear plenty of sunscreen.

“It’s very easy to get burnt, especially when you’re in and out of the water,” he said.

“You’ve got to make sure that you have a lot of sunscreen on every three hours and plenty of shade when children come out of the water.”

The pool has installed the Cancer Council Sun Sound device that plays a jingle every half hour to remind swimmers to reapply their sunscreen. 

Mr Vale stressed the importance of learn-to-swim lessons for regional children.

“I think it’s very important for the young ones to learn how to swim, parents should get their children into swimming lessons as soon as they can,” he said.

“It’s very important to keep eyes on your children all the time, but if you’ve got three or four of them it can be quite hard.

“If you make sure your children learn to swim they are less likely to get into trouble in the water.”

Last month marked the second-warmest December ever recorded in NSW with temperatures well above average in northern and eastern NSW.

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