With one more weekend to go before the end of the school holiday, the City of Cape Town’s Identikidz programme which registers and issues young beach visitors with an identification armband, has once again proven its effectiveness. From the start of the programme in mid-December, 121 335 children have been tagged.
‘The Identikidz programme has grown from strength to strength and each year more children are tagged. Already nearly 50% more children were tagged this season. This means 318 children who were lost on 16 of our beaches were all reunited with their parents or guardians. It is not a babysitting service and should not replace the responsibility of parents to supervise their children at all times while they’re on the beach.
‘It simply means that should a child wander off, we are able to find their family. All the children who were lost on our beaches were reunited with loved ones and to date this year, there has been a decrease in the number of children lost. For the same time during the previous season 82 519 children were tagged and 523 lost. We have one more weekend to go and indications are we will far exceed previous totals ,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Councillor Zahid Badroodien.
Factors which contributed to children going missing on beaches include:
- Children come to the beaches without parents or an adult
- Parents are intoxicated and don’t realise the child is gone
- Parents who leave the beach without their children
- Parents do not supervise their children while they are on the beach
‘Parents are more responsive to the programme and this contributes to its success. Parents and children come looking for the Identikidz stations on the beaches and the young ones know where to come if they get lost. The programme concludes on 12 January and we will once again look at ways to improve on it,’ said Councillor Badroodien.
In terms of water safety, there have been no further fatal drownings since before Christmas, with the confirmed number of fatalities at 13.
‘We continue to run awareness campaigns to highlight the most common reasons for drowning, to encourage water safety and provide other important information that may reduce potential risks when swimming. Despite our best efforts, bathers still neglect their own safety and our lifeguards have their hands full keeping everyone safe,’ said Councillor Badroodien.
The weather is set to remain ideal for the beach as the peak of summer approaches and bathers are reminded to heed the instructions of lifeguards and to obey the rules which are there for their safety.
‘There are still many beach going days ahead and I want to commend the lifeguards for a job well done and maintaining their cool when beaches are crowded. Visitors to the beach have a role to play and I implore them to remain in the designated bathing areas at all times, swim only at beaches where lifeguards are on duty, and to not drink and swim,’ added Councillor Badroodien.