WITH 34 drowning deaths already recorded this year, the newly-established Fiji Water Safety Council is pleading for parents and children to be more vigilant as the festive season approaches.
And with a number of drowning deaths recorded this year among the younger age groups, the council is calling for the community to take ownership and stop the toll from increasing.
"There is a an urgent need for parents, authorities and the general public to work together to reduce Fiji's drowning figure so that everyone, especially the young and vulnerable, remain safe in or around the water," council rep Bronwyn Soko said.
"Parents and guardians need to be aware of dangers around water so they can inform and spread important water safety advice to children.
"Parents need to be aware of their child's movements, especially around water, having children unsupervised in or around water has been a leading cause of drowning fatalities with in Fiji."
Ms Soko said children did not have the strength or know-how to get themselves out of danger, especially in the water, which made it all the more important for adults to supervise children.
"Adults can give advice of where to enter the water, children often don't think and just rush in, the water may be deep, have fast flowing current, be cold or shallow," she said.