After the success of last year’s Learn to Swim Week, throughout which over 5000 free swimming lessons were provided to Aussie kids, Poolwerx CEO John O’Brien said he was thrilled to be bringing back the event in 2015.
“It’s absolutely fantastic to see so many swim schools care about the community enough to provide free swimming lessons and impart some basic water safety skills to those who need it most,” he said.
“With over 150 swim schools nationally having already signed up, we predict that over 7000 free swimming lessons will be held over the five days, breaking last year’s record participation numbers. We want to reach 300 schools though and it’s not too late for any swim schools ready to help their local community to sign up at www.learntoswimweek.com.au.
Research conducted by Poolwerx showed a staggering 48% of children aged under five weren’t receiving official swimming lessons and more than a third (36%) of those weren’t doing so all year round, meaning many children weren’t receiving the necessary skills to survive in and around water.
The findings also revealed almost three-quarters of parents (71%) said they weren’t confident their child could swim and 40% didn’t believe their child’s swimming ability was adequate for their age.
Laurie Lawrence, ambassador for Learn to Swim Week, said there was still a long way to go in reducing drowning deaths among children.
“Almost half of Aussie kids aged under five aren’t receiving qualified teaching on how to cope in an emergency water situation, which is what you get from official swimming lessons, and that scares me because it suggests children aren’t growing up with skills that could save their life one day,” he said.
Learn to Swim Week also celebrates the importance of general water safety, particularly regarding backyard pools, with Poolwerx’s research also revealing 39% of pool owners didn’t inspect the safety of their pool area throughout the year and, despite being a requirement, 44% didn’t even have a CPR chart displayed.
A further two-thirds also indicated they couldn’t confidently perform CPR in an emergency situation, revealing pool owners in Australia needed a lesson on water safety.
Learn to Swim Week 2015 will run from 28 September until 2 October 2015, with lessons being run at swim schools all over Australia and New Zealand.
Originally published on Pool and Spa Review, on 2nd September 2015.