Our new Penrith Beach

Last week was national SWIMSAFER week – and we are the NSW Ambassadors, and with Penrith Beach set to open very soon, these water safety tips are more important than ever!

The 2023 SWIMSAFER Report revealed 43% of families did not have their children in lessons because they believed they were too young to learn to swim, and that only 41% of Aussie kids are currently enrolled in swimming lessons. SWIM Australia CEO, Brendon Ward said the Report also showed one in every five families had to cease lessons this year due to increased cost of living expenses.

“The reality is cost of living pressures have been a concern for many families this year and unfortunately some parents have taken their children out of swimming lessons to manage financial constraints,” he said. “The flip side is close to half of the parents surveyed kept their children in lessons by sacrificing spending on weekly takeaway, coffees, streaming services, and beauty treatments.

Mr Ward said he was buoyed the research showed the SWIMSAFER message was inciting change in Aussie families. “We’ve seen the number of children learning to swim climb by 15% since the SWIMSAFER Week Report was first commissioned three years ago,” he said. “It is heartwarming to know our message about learning to swim is getting through but our goal is to have all children gain this lifesaving skill so we still have a way to go.” The SWIMSAFER goal is to push further towards the goal of zero drownings in Australia.

Royal Life Saving Australia’s latest National Drowning report revealed 16 children aged between 0-4 years old drowned last year, with a quarter of incidents happening in either backyard pools or the bath. “We know that the 0-5 years age group is particularly vulnerable to drownings, which is why it is imperative that we change the belief held by some parents that their child is too young to start water familiarisation lessons,” Mr Ward said.

The SWIMSAFER Week campaign includes co-branded content with campaign ambassador, Olympian Giaan Rooney and world renowned pre-school brand PJ Masks, and has seen Swim Australia partner with Australia’s pre-eminent provider of swimming and water safety teacher training, AUSTSWIM. CEO Bradley Low said “By partnering together, we are further extending the SWIMSAFER message to 700 swim schools and over 30,000 teachers across Australia. For us it is very concerning that over half of parents are not confident their child has the skills to help themselves in a water emergency. By the age of six months, children can start infant learn to swim programs where the child explores and enjoys the water with their parents. Children are exposed to water of all forms right from birth so it’s critical they get comfortable in and around water as early as possible.”

Mr Low said he was concerned that close to one in five parents were teaching their children to swim, when 45% did not believe they had the skills to help someone in a water emergency.
Swimming lessons are the best way to keep your child SAFER around water, along with pool fences and gates, supervision, and knowing CPR.