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Free lessons to combat childhood drowning rates

A NUMBER of local swimming schools in Coffs Harbour are offering free swimming lessons for children under five in a bid to curb childhood drowning. Coffs Harbour Aquatic Centre, Zeeswim Aquademy and Swim Care have got behind the national Learn2Swim Week.

Ged O’Sullivan from Poolwerx Coffs Harbour and Moonee Beach, the company behind the week-long event, urged parents to take advantage of the free swimming lessons.

“Last year there were tragically 29 drowning deaths in children aged 0-4 years, with three quarters of these deaths resulting from a fall into the water,” he said.

“That is why it is so important to familiarise kids with water at an early age and swimming lessons can provide under-fives with the lifesaving skills they need to know to get themselves out of trouble.”

Mr O’Sullivan said Learn2Swim Week was helping to get the message across to parents that children can begin water familiarisation lessons from as early as 4-6 months of age and that by 18 months of age, children who have attended regular swimming lessons have the skills they need to get themselves safely back to the side of the pool.

“Our survey of parents who participated in Learn2Swim Week last year showed that 60% went on to enrol their under-fives in regular swimming lessons.

“The free swimming lessons our local swim schools are providing during Learn2Swim Week give parents the opportunity to get their under-fives familiar with water and see first-hand the benefits of teaching them lifesaving water skills.”

Laurie Lawrence from Kids Alive – Do the Five is the program ambassador and has once again partnered with Poolwerx to deliver the initiative and said local swim schools were once again showing they were at the forefront of water safety awareness in young children.

“Learn2Swim Week has been running for four years now and each year we get more and more swim schools participating,” Laurie said.

“Local swim schools are helping us to reach our goal of zero drownings in under-fives and I encourage all parents with children under five to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity.”

This year Learn2Swim Week will run from 2 – 9 October.

Parents can visit http://learn2swimweek.com/ to find out more.

The initiative is supported by all major industry associations AUST SWIM, ASSA, SWIM Australia.

Read the full article on The Coffs Coast Advocate website.

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