Can your child really swim?

There is just one question I want you to honestly ask yourself this week as the weather heats up – can your child or grandchild swim? I mean, really swim, competently? Would they be able to get themselves to the side of the pool if they fell in or became tired whilst swimming? Would they be able to swim against a rip current at the beach? Would they cope if faced with cold water or strong currents in the river?
A recent report by the Royal Life Saving Society showed that three out of four children had quit swimming classes by age eight, long before they’d learned skills that could save their lives. Children who had regular weekly lessons were most likely to reach national safety and swimming benchmarks at age nine and 10, yet only 25 per cent were staying in lessons long enough to reach this standard.
Because children were leaving lessons too soon, 83 per cent of 12-year-old children couldn’t tread water for two minutes – the goal for children by the time they finish primary school – 40 per cent couldn’t swim 50 metres of freestyle or backstroke, and one third couldn’t swim 25 metres of survival strokes. In a country surrounded by water, with a lifestyle largely defined by water, this represents a dangerous decline in swimming skills. I remember most children swimming 50 meters at swimming carnivals back in the 80’s and 90’s- these days the majority of children are only confident to compete in the novelty races. Our children are never 100% safe around the water, so their swim education should not stop until they are fully competent in the water, and meeting the national safety benchmarks. Please remember, swimming lessons – alongside barriers & supervision – are one of the most important ways to ensure our children are Safer, all year round.