Editorial: Think first, lives may be at risk

By Andrew Austin


Sometimes parents can do things that endanger their offspring's lives, even though the last thing they actually want to do is put their children in danger.

A seemingly enjoyable outing with the kids can very quickly become a dangerous experience, particularly if the sea, rivers and currents are involved.

Our lead story in today's paper is about a father who set out in a kayak with his 4-year-old daughter near the mouth of the Tukituki River about lunchtime yesterday.

The current got too strong for them and they were swept out towards the sea and capsized. Lucky for them, a man on a long board was able to rescue them. Hawke's Bay police acting Senior Sergeant Mike Stevenson said neither the man nor his daughter were wearing life jackets.

I am sure that man is now wishing that he had not taken his daughter out in the kayak. There is no doubt that he is relieved that she was not harmed. How would you live with yourself if you knew your actions had resulted in something happening to your child?

I have sympathy for the man, because as a younger man I sometimes took my children into potentially dangerous situations in the pursuit of fun. There are a few bike rides, hill climbs and ventures out to sea that I would prefer not to think about. I was lucky, but it could so easily have been a disaster.

And that is exactly the point I am trying to make. The father in the Tukituki River yesterday would not have wanted anything bad to happen to his daughter, but it nearly did.

Even when we think we are in control, nature has a way of making us realise that we are not.

Even if we may be able to do something adventurous by ourselves, chances are we will not be able to do it with the children.

Summer is approaching and there will be plenty of people taking their kids to rivers and the sea for a good time. There is nothing better than spending time at the coast with your children. I can't wait to explore Hawke's Bay with my children this summer.

But we must ensure that our actions don't put our children in danger. Think first.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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