Call for more lessons in water survival skills
Being in, on, or around the water, is a way of life for many children in Australia. Sadly however, drowning is the greatest cause of accidental death in children under five in Australia.
Eighteen people have drowned in NSW since December 18 including four toddlers and two school-aged children, and Royal Life Saving has said all children should have access to swimming lessons.
The organisation has called for the federal government to play a role in ensuring that every child had access to water survival skills.
Royal Life Saving believes about half of all children are leaving primary school without the ability to swim. It is estimated that commercial swim schools are currently teaching about 17-24 per cent of children in Australian every year.
AUSTSWIM qualified swimming instructor, Zena Dawson from Funshine Learn 2 Swim agrees, and recently made a trip to Goodstart Petrie to teach children all about water safety.
She said teaching children about pool safety, fences, and safety at the beach, including the role of lifesavers and the red and yellow flags, raised awareness of the dangers.
“As part of the lesson, I teach children Laurie Lawrence’s Kids Alive Do the FIVE song, along with some fun dance actions so hopefully it will be a great way to engage them and give them more confidence when it comes to being safe in and around the water.”
Goodstart Petrie centre director Megan Fisher said educating young children in a fun way about the importance of water safety was a great initiative to bring to the centre.
Laurie Lawrence's Kids Alive - Do the Five has five rules for keeping safe this summer including:
- Fencing the pool
- Shutting the gate
- Teaching your children to swim – it’s greatSupervise – watch your mate, and
- Learning how to resuscitate
Royal Life Saving has proposed children should be able to do a number of things in the water by the end of primary school including:
- Swim 50m continuous freestyle with a correct technique.
- Swim 25m continuous survival stroke of any nature including backstroke or sidestroke.
- Float for two minutes.
- Perform a survival sequence dressed in swimwear, shorts and a t-shirt.
- Throw a rescue floatation aid to a partner at five metres distance and instruct the partner to swim to the edge.