Child safety is in the news this week with the launch of a new Government campaign encouraging adult carers to talk to children about the dangers that can face children. The statistics show that educational facilities including schools are an extremely low risk environment – 79% of children who are based in Australia were abused by a relative, friend, acquaintance or neighbour, and only 11% of cases of sexual abuse in children under 15 are perpetrated by a stranger – however 1 child experiencing such a thing is 1 child too many, and we take child safety seriously – both in and out of the water.
Within the water, swimming lessons are the absolute best way to ensure the safety of your child around water, along with other layers of protection including supervision, barriers such as fences and gates, and learning resuscitation techniques in case they are ever needed.
Our babies and early swim levels are focussed on safety skills such as being able to turn around, get to the side and exit the pool should a child fall in. Additionally, we maintain low instructor to student ratios in all of our programs, have on deck showers for parents who would prefer to give their children a quick rinse off in their swimming costume if unable to accompany the into the change rooms, and have strict policies regarding parental supervision in and around the centre, and especially in the water when not participating in a lesson.
We also do all within our power to guarantee the personal safety of children within our centres. All of our employees, at all levels of the company, must have a Working with Children check before commencing employment with us.
Our change room policies are such that there is zero tolerance for cameras, recording devices or even mobile phones to be used in our change rooms, and we ask that school age children use the gender appropriate change room, and provide a family change room at Nepean Aquatic Centre for families with children of both genders. Whilst we encourage that parents capture their own child’s progress on camera, our policies state that no other child is to be included in the image or recording unless express permission has been given by the other child’s parent or guardian – the same applies for sharing pictures of other people’s children on social media, and for our use of student’s images in any promotion or marketing of our centres.
As an industry, we also take this issue seriously, with the Australian Swim Schools Association recently engaging leading Child Protection experts, Child Safeguard, to further assist all Member Swim Schools with its child protection policies and procedures. Protecting our children and upholding their safety, is of the highest of importance when working with children, and this most certainly extends to swim teaching, so you know you are safe hands at our centres