The initiative, celebrating its third year has a clear purpose given research by Poolwerx revealed over half (53%) of parents in Australia don’t think their pre-school aged child has the necessary water skills to get themselves out of trouble if they fell into a backyard pool.
This same study found that 35 per cent 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.
“The study found that 81 percent of parents think swimming lessons are compulsory in school, which is completely incorrect,” Laurie said. “They’re not compulsory – 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 2015-2016 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.”
CEO of Poolwerx, 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.
“We learnt that 43 per cent of parents feel they can’t afford swimming lessons for their child,” John said. “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.”
Swim schools and parents can find more information about participating at www.learntoswimweek.com.au.
About Learn to Swim Week
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.
Originally published by Business Franchise Australia and New Zealand, on September 24, 2016.