Tragically, in Australia 25 children under 5 lost their lives prematurely from drowning in Australia in the last year, a 108% increase on last year and a 9% increase on the 10-year average, with 8 of these incidents happening in swimming pools. In New Zealand, three children under the age of four lost their lives last year. This is why Poolwerx and Kids Alive are back again this year with Learn2Swim Week, offering free swimming lessons for children under five from Friday 25 September to Sunday 3 October, in an effort to reduce childhood drownings.
Over the course of a week, swim schools across Australian and New Zealand will offer free swimming lessons to children under the age of five as part of the water safety initiative, with registrations still open for swim schools to sign up for the annual event.
Despite water safety remaining top of mind for many families, new research from Poolwerx reveals around 15 percent of parents surveyed still know someone who had, or directly encountered, a near-drowning experience – highlighting the importance of teaching little ones basic water skills to make swimming safe and fun for parents and toddlers.
Further, over 30 percent of parents whose children participated in Learn2Swim Week in 2020 enrolled their children in ongoing swim classes after the week was over2, highlighting the impact that Learn2Swim Week has on both children and the parents enrolling them.
Ex-Olympian swimmer Libby Trickett, alongside former Australian Olympic swim coach and Kids Alive founder Laurie Lawrence, has partnered with Poolwerx to support the initiative, urging all parents to sign up for Learn2Swim Week this year and get their kids enrolled in lessons.
Libby Trickett said, “As a mum myself, I’m really proud to be championing Learn2Swim Week for Poolwerx this year. I know just how important it is to develop swimming skills when you’re young, and really capitalise on the opportunities our beautiful climate gives us to enjoy time in the water here in Australia.
Former All Blacks centre, now Crusaders and Wellington (NPC) Assistant Coach Tamati Ellison, has also partnered with Poolwerx to support the initiative, urging all parents to sign up for Learn2Swim Week this year and get their kids enrolled in lessons.
“I’m really proud to be supporting Learn2Swim Week for Poolwerx this year. Growing up my siblings and I spent a lot of time around the water which helped us develop key swimming skills plus build amazing memories. Learning how to swim and feel confident in the water is important at all ages. For us Kiwis, it allows you to enjoy the New Zealand summer and keep whanau safe in and around the water,” says Tamati.
“Tamaiti akoana ki Te kaukau, noho haumaru ki Te wai, Tau Ana. Okea ki a Urorotia ako ki Te kaukau I tenei rā (A person who learns to swim is safer in the water. Give it your best, learn to swim today),” he adds.
Poolwerx COO Nic Brill reiterated Poolwerx’ commitment to water safety, encouraging parents to take advantage of these free classes.
“Swimming is a way of life for most Kiwis and Aussies, but sadly we’re still seeing backyard drownings. That is why it is crucial to introduce kids to water safety as early as possible. As Australasia’s largest pool servicing brand, we feel that we have both an opportunity and a responsibility to promote safe water practices in our community,” Brill said.
“Nearly 2.7 million Australians and 58,000 Kiwis live in a house with a swimming pool, and with people staying at home more over the last eighteen months through COVID, we know this number is rapidly increasing. That makes Learn2Swim Week an even more vital initiative, and one which we are proud to pioneer.”