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Just 23% of Parents Rate Their Kids’ Swimming Skills as Capable – Here’s What You Can Do

Water. It’s a big part of every childhood. And we’re not just talking about bath water. Regardless of where you live, chances are your kids are going to grow up around some body of water. An ocean. A creek. A lake. A swimming pool.

And not just for swimming in either. They may be waddling in the waves, catching fish in a local creek or surfing in the sea. They may be wakeboarding in the middle of a lake or kayaking down a river. It doesn’t matter what water-related activity it is – it all starts with kids’ swimming and swim safety.

Over half of Aussie parents say their child has poor water safety skills and that they are not confident that their child could get themselves out of trouble in a water safety emergency. That’s a scary statistic! Agree?

Here’s another one: only 23% of parents believe their child is a capable swimmer. 

We bring these statistics up because it happens to be National SWIMSAFER week – running from 21 to 27 November 2022 and is aimed to raise awareness of the importance of kids’ swimming lessons. 

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‘Power up’ their swimming

To help promote this important message, SWIMSAFER has teamed up with the PJ Masks gang (Owlette, Catboy and Gekko) and Olympian Giann Rooney.

Kids can start [lessons] from the age of six months, and this will give them the best chance of developing strong water safety skills for life,” Giann Rooney, who has two little ones herself, explains. “Swimming lessons shouldn’t be something that a child only does for a year. It takes them time and regular practice to hone their water safety skills and they can and should participate in swimming lessons right up to the age of 12.”

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Around 55% of children are enrolled in swim lessons, but this still leaves 45% who are missing out on this super important skill set.

When asked why, parents explain that it often has to do with time or that their kids prefer other sports over swimming.

More than just a hobby

As Swim Australia CEO, Brendon Ward reminds parents, swimming lessons should be a non-negotiable for kids, not just as a sport, but as a life skill.

Swimming lessons are the one physical activity that could help a child save their own life.”

Swim It Forward: making kids’ swimming lessons possible for every child

Another reason why many parents are not enrolling their kids in swim lessons comes down to affordability which is why SWIMSAFER also runs its Swim It Forward program.

To assist families in need, the Swim It Forward initiative aims to reduce the barriers for parents by generating funds to help families afford swimming lessons next year. 

Mum-of-four Clare Sarton is a Swim It Forward recipient and admits that the program has been a lifesaver, especially after she separated from her husband and couldn’t afford her children’s lessons anymore.

“My Mum nearly drowned when she was little, so she had us in swimming lessons really early on, and that was a priority for me and my children as well. Accessing SWIM It Forward has enabled that for us and we are very lucky. Swim It Forward has been a lifesaver.” Clare tells Mum Central.

To donate a swimming lesson and help a child in need access this vital life skill visit Swim It Forward. You can also apply to become a recipient of Swim It Forward on the SWIMSAFER website.

Time to make swim safety a priority

If your kids don’t take swimming lessons, now’s a really good time to sit down and think about adding it to your list of things to do next year.

Yes, it’s another thing to put in your already full basket – and to drive to – but it’s so important, not just for your kids, but for your own peace of mind.

Going to the beach as a family, heading out for a day on the Reef, or even just chilling out at your local pool is so much more enjoyable when you know the kids are confident and capable swimmers.

There are over 500 swim schools celebrating SWIMSAFER Week across Australia with a range of events. People can find their closest participating swim school at www.swimsafer.org.au.

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Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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