300 swim schools to participate in Learn to Swim Week 2016
As part of Learn to Swim Week 2016, over 300 swim schools across Australia will be offering thousands of free swimming lessons for children aged under five from 24th September to 2nd October.
The initiative, celebrating its third year, was created following research by Poolwerx that revealed over half (53%) of parents in Australia didn’t think their pre-school aged child had the necessary water skills to get themselves out of trouble if they fell into a backyard pool.
This same study found that 35% of parents don’t take their child to swimming lessons, citing ‘lack of money’ (43%), ‘my child is too young’ (36%) and ‘no time’ (24%) as contributing factors.
Well known child drowning prevention advocate and ambassador of Learn to Swim Week, Laurie Lawrence, said many parents still did not realise the vital importance of teaching their child to swim from an early age.
Lawrence (pictured above) explains “the study found that 81% of parents think swimming lessons are compulsory in school, which is completely incorrect.
“They’re not compulsory, (so) it’s up to parents to make sure their child learns water safety skills.
“Learn to Swim Week is there to give parents the opportunity for children to understand and encourage these lifesaving skills as well as learn the dangers of swimming alone.
“We’re still losing too many of our kids to drownings. Over 2015/16 we lost 21 children aged four and under to preventable drownings. It is still the number one cause of death in children under five – even one death is one too many.”
Poolwerx Chief Executive John O’Brien said the study was commissioned to see just where the gaps were in parents’ knowledge and understanding of water safety and what areas were most in need of addressing.
O’Brien explains “we learnt that 43% of parents feel they can’t afford swimming lessons for their child.
“This is very worrying but we are extremely grateful to all the swim schools participating this year and helping us make a difference by offering free lessons.
“When you want to see a change you often have to be the change, and together with Kids Alive and Vorgee, our aim is to work towards zero child drownings and safer pool environments by giving every Australian child the chance to learn to swim.
“It’s such a small thing to do to save the life of your child.”
Launched by Poolwerx and supported by Kids Alive and Vorgee, Learn to Swim Week aims to remind Australians about both the importance of teaching children aged under five to swim and general water safety information ahead of the swimming season. It is also supported by swimming associations AUSTSWIM and Swim Australia through their network of swim school members across Australia.
For more information go to www.learntoswimweek.com.au
20th September 2016 - DROWNING FIGURES DEMONSTRATE IMPORTANCE OF LEARN-TO-SWIM PROGRAMS
15th September 2016 - NEW REPORT SHOWS NO IMPROVEMENT IN ANNUAL DROWNING FIGURES
13th December 2014 - POOLWERX STUDY SHOWS AUSTRALIANS UNSURE ON COMMERCIAL POOL HYGIENE
7th September 2014 - FEDERAL GOVERNMENT BACKS LAURIE LAWRENCE’S ANTI-DROWNING INITIATIVE
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