Bellingen Shire Swim Centre and Dorrigo Swim Centre have got behind national Learn2Swim Week and are offering free swimming lessons for local children under five, in a bid to curb childhood drowning.
John O’Brien, founder and CEO of Poolwerx, the company behind the week-long event, said the response from local swim schools had been fantastic and he was urging parents to take advantage of the free swimming lessons for their under-fives.
“Last year there were tragically 29 drowning deaths in children aged 0-4 years, with three quarters of these deaths resulting from a fall into the water.
“That is why it is so important to familiarise kids with water at an early age and swimming lessons can provide under-fives with the lifesaving skills they need to know to get themselves out of trouble.”
Mr O’Brien said Learn2Swim Week was helping to get the message across to parents that children can begin water familiarisation lessons from as early as 4-6 months of age and that by 18 months of age, children who have attended regular swimming lessons have the skills they need to get themselves safely back to the side of the pool.
“Our survey of parents who participated in Learn2Swim Week last year showed that 60 per cent went on to enroll their under-fives in regular swimming lessons.
“The free swimming lessons our local swim schools are providing during Learn2Swim Week give parents the opportunity to get their under-fives familiar with water and see firsthand the benefits of teaching them lifesaving water skills.”
Laurie Lawrence from Kids Alive - Do the Five is the program ambassador and has once again partnered with Poolwerx to deliver the initiative and said local swim schools were once again showing they were at the forefront of water safety awareness in young children.
“Learn2Swim Week has been running for four years now and each year we get more and more swim schools participating,” Laurie said.
“Local swim schools like Bellingen Shire Swim Centre and Dorrigo Swim Centre are helping us to reach our goal of zero drownings in under-fives and I encourage all parents with children under five to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity.”
This year Learn2Swim Week will run from October. 2-9. Parents can visit http://learn2swimweek.com/ to find out more.
The initiative is supported by all the major industry associations AUST SWIM, ASSA, SWIM Australia.
About Learn to Swim Week
Launched by Poolwerx and supported by Kids Alive – Do the Five, Learn2Swim Week aims to remind Australians about both the importance of teaching children aged under five to swim and general water safety information ahead of the swimming season.