Lifeguards’ message to parents: We’re not babysitters

 

CAIRNS lifeguards are pleading with mums and dads to supervise their children over the Easter holidays after a toddler was pulled from the city's popular Esplanade lagoon while his parents were off sightseeing.

Surf Lifesaving Queensland North Queensland regional manager Rob Davidson said a one-year-old Japanese boy was pulled from the Cairns lagoon when lifeguards noticed him struggling on Friday afternoon. The young child was being supervised by his 12-year-old brother.

He said lifeguards were unable to find the boys' parents and even engaged police to track them down before they wandered back to the lagoon about an hour after the incident.

"We're having too many incidents like this," Mr Davidson said. "Coming up to the holidays everyone needs to be aware that lifeguards aren't babysitters.

"They've got to watch the water. If they have to rescue and assist someone out of the water, even if they're breathing and conscious, they could be very distraught, so they have to help them but they still have to watch the other swimmers.

"They've got roles and responsibilities and tasks to assist those in genuine need but on Friday they did that but then had to try to find the parents."

Mr Davidson said he was sick of the abuse his staff often copped for asking parents or guardians to look after their children.

"I've got children, we all want to have fun and we love our kids, but please supervise them," Mr Davidson pleaded.

"Supervision is engaging with them and watching them, depending on their age.

"It's not sitting on the grass 15m away, it's not having a barbecue with family and leaving your kids with a sibling or a niece or nephew.

"I don't want to have to do another report these holidays because we've had a drowning or near drowning.

"Sometimes the lifeguards see an incident which could be dangerous and they talk to the parents and get abused by them, they say they're sick of minding their children, so the lifesavers are damned if they do, damned if they don't. Parents need to accept their children are their responsibility."