SwimSAFER Week study finds more than half of Australian children don’t learn to swim

Research conducted as part of the annual SwimSAFER week found that 54% of Australian children do not learn to swim, 27% being forced out of lessons due to COVID restrictions and 28% unable to find available lessons at their local swimming school.

With the SwimSAFER Week which will be held from 15e to 19e In November, the SwimSAFER report, commissioned by Swim Australia, found that only 37% of parents planned to enroll their child in formal classes within the next six months, with 29% planning to teach their child themselves. .

Concerned that the circumstances of the past two years will have a long-term effect on children’s swimming ability in Australia, Swim Australia Managing Director Brendon Ward explained “COVID has had a huge impact on the industry swimming with lessons interrupted for long periods and swimming instructors. leaving the industry due to closures, making swimming schools unable to meet demand.

“Our study shows that 16% of children have not taken swimming lessons for more than a year and 25% got out of the pool between 6 and 12 months. This is a very dangerous scenario because it means that the capacities of the children in the water will have regressed. There will be children who may never learn to swim properly.

Confirming a 20% increase in the total number of drownings after the first lockdown *, Ward noted that “the situation is very serious and we are shivering at the thought of what could happen this summer given that so many children don’t. have not learned to swim. Parents confirm our fears with 51% of them not convinced that their child could help themselves in a water emergency. “

“Swimming may be our most popular sport, but it can also be under threat as 44% of Australians agree that interruptions to swimming lessons in the past two years will impact the future successes of professional swimming. and Olympic.

“The impact of children not learning to swim has far-reaching consequences, not only for their safety, but also for the longevity of the sport and the number of future swimming heroes we will produce. Some children may never learn to swim. There’s a lot at stake if we don’t re-teach kids to swim as early as possible. “

Aiming to lower barriers for parents by generating funds to help families pay for swimming lessons next year, Swim Australia has launched the Swim IT Forward initiative, with Ward explaining “by donating a swimming lesson or just $ 20, people can potentially save a life by helping a child get back into the water and regain confidence.

To encourage a love of water in children and promote the value of swimming lessons, Hasbro, a global games and entertainment company, is working with Swim Australia to support SwimSAFER week with a campaign featuring the heroes of the famous preschool brand PJ MASKS.

The campaign aims to inspire young children and parents about the importance of safe swimming with heroes Catboy, Owlette and Gekko as they help children “improve” their swimming.

The PJ MASKS campaign includes the creation of co-branded content with campaign ambassadors; Olympic gold medalist Leisel Jones, Olympian Alex Graham and Paralympian Brenden Hall.

There are over 500 swim schools celebrating SwimSAFER week across Australia with a range of events.

People can share the gift of a swimming lesson for the ‘Swim IT Forward’ initiative by donating to www.swimsafer.org.au.

* Royal Rescue Drowning Report 2020/21 https://www.royallifesaving.com.au/research-and-policy/drowning-research/national-drowning-reports/Explore-the-national-drowning-report-2021

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