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Hanson backs learn to swim lessons for all Aussie Kids

Hanson backs learn to swim lessons for all Aussie Kids
February 10, 2010

Olympic Gold Medallist and AUSTSWIM Ambassador Brooke Hanson believes that all Australian children should participate in learn to swim and water safety lessons from the age of six months.

As Hanson explains, "while swimming is an important part of the Australian culture, and children are naturally attracted to water, it has sadly been brought back into national focus with (recent) tragic drownings."

Australian Council for the Teaching of Swimming and Water Safety (AUSTSWIM) ambassador Hanson, along with another former Olympian Geoff Huegill, are together committed to educating Australians about the importance of learn to swim and water safety and believe that it is critical for all Australian children to participate in learn to swim and water safety lessons. They recommend six months as the age for starting.

Hanson adds "drowning remains one of the highest causes of accidental death in children, and for every one child who dies as a result of drowning, there are another four children admitted to hospital, and one fifth will be disabled for the rest of their lives."

Hanson understands the important role learn to swim and water safety lessons, by appropriately accredited teachers, play in every child’s life, adding "the arrival of my first child has reinforced the importance of being taught learn to swim and water safety by an AUSTSWIM licensed teacher.

“Cooper is only four months old and is already enjoying his water familiarisation education in the bath at home. The recent childhood drownings should be a warning to all parents to never take your eyes off your kids around water. Supervision means constant visual contact, not just the occasional glance. Never turn your back on toddlers, children or your swimming companions. Don't look away, don't walk off and don't get distracted – not even for a second."

Hanson went on to say that "probably the greatest irony in me becoming an Olympic swimmer is that I could have drowned before I was two years old. Twice I was plucked from the bottom of the pool and it’s unfortunate to know that, thirty years on, childhood drownings are higher than ever.”

AUSTSWIM recommends when looking for a learn to swim and water safety program for your children, seek one with a positive and welcoming environment that includes parents as part of the learning process. Parents are an essential part of the learning process, and as the children learn so do the parents.

A well rounded program will also include all the essentials of water safety, water familiarisation, personal water safety, survival knowledge and steps towards stroke development.

Start small by familiarising your child with water in the bath at home. This allows your child to experience the buoyancy effect of water, the movement and force of water, and the feeling of water splashing and showering over the body.

Based on information from medical and child development experts, AUSTSWIM recommend that at six months of age children can join formal classes at the local pool. Formal class participation before six months of age is not advisable because not all infants under six months are physically or developmentally ready to be in a formal education program.

AUSTSWIM advises that swimming and water safety classes should be 30 minutes in duration and include a variety of activities, songs, games and equipment to enhance the learning experience of swimming and water safety skills.

AUSTSWIM Chief Executive Gordon Mallett urges Australian parents to ensure that children are constantly supervised in and around the water and that they receive regular learn to swim and water safety aquatic education in a fun, engaging and safe environment by appropriately accredited AUSTSWIM Teachers™.

As he states "learning to swim provides you and your children with important skills and the confidence to be able to enjoy water safely. Providing your child with the opportunity to learn to swim and water safety skills will give them the best chance of survival if an accident were ever to happen."

More than 50 children aged between one and 15 drown each year in Australia.

AUSTSWIM has over 550 AUSTSWIM Recognised Swim Schools nationally who provide a range of learn to swim and water safety classes catering for ages six months through to adults. Classes are taught by accredited AUSTSWIM Teachers of Swimming and Water Safety™.

For further information go to

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