Fun, safe, good for your health – learning to swim has it all!
November 16-22 2020 marks SwimSAFER Week 2020. It is when we take a moment to acknowledge the benefits of learning to swim and why it is a lifesaving skill everyone should have!
Swim Australia recently conducted research and was shocked to discover only 40% of adults rated themselves as proficient swimmers. 18% said their skills were poor and 6% claimed they didn’t know how to swim at all! The main reason for this lack of skill was because close to half of the people surveyed did not receive swimming lessons when they were young. 28% taught themselves to swim and another 30% were instructed by their parents. This study proves why learning to swim needs to start early.
Start kids early!
Knowing how to swim is a key factor in reducing the risk of childhood drowning. We recommend children begin the learn to swim process from as early as three months. The earlier you start water familiarisation the better, as the skills learned build upon each other at each stage of development. We believe every child should be taught to swim in a proper learning facility but for some families this is not always possible, which is why we have created a new way to help families with our Swim It Forward initiative.
Swim It Forward!
As part of SwimSAFER Week this year we are launching the Swim It Forward campaign. Swim Australia’s research shows 55% of Australian children are not currently in lessons, with a major reason being affordability. This year 12 little ones under five drowned. Learning to swim is a major preventative measure parents can take. Our aim is to help more children receive this vital education. For just $20 (tax deductible) or the cost of one swimming lesson, you will be helping those most at risk of drowning. The more children in lessons, the lower the risk of drowning.
Swim safety is a major focus of Swim Australia. Swim Australia’s consistent message is that no measure can ever guarantee that children are safe in, on and around water. It is only human for adults to sometimes lapse in their supervision of children in the home or while out and about.
Children can and do find ways over fences, and even those who have had swimming lessons can still drown. For this reason the SwimSAFER message promotes and recommends the application of various layers to protect children from drowning – if one layer ‘fails’ then there is another behind it that may save their life. Research released by Royal Life Saving Australia in 2018 showed that 965 children aged 0-4 years drowned in Australia over the last 25 years. Accidental falls into water were recorded as the leading activity resulting in drowning.
The layers of protection are:
Supervision is key – we can never assume someone else is watching. Drowning is often silent.
As proper supervision relies on people, it is never 100% reliable. This is why barriers need to be in place to lessen the chances of children getting to the water hazard. Key points to maximise barrier protection:
Learn To Swim:
Being able to swim well is one of the greatest gifts that can be bestowed upon a child – especially in Australia. Equally, a high level of swimming and water safety skills are necessary for full, enjoyable participation – as part of a safer framework. For young children, the basic swimming and water safety skills include:
In immersion incidents, every second counts. Having an Emergency Action Plan in place can reduce panic and save vital time. Consider the following:
All the layers of protection need to be employed at the one time to ensure optimal water safety.
Did you know that in March 2009, the American Medical Association’s Archives of Paediatric and Adolescent Medicine reported a study by the USA’s National Institute from Health that concluded:
“Participating in formal swimming lessons was associated with an 88% reduction in the risk of drowning in children between the ages of 1 to 4”.
NEPEAN AQUATIC CENTRE
PHONE 4730 8900
16-19 Lambridge Pl, Penrith
EVA BORY’S SWIM SCHOOL
PHONE 4728 8400
14 Bromley Rd, Emu Plains