More than half of Australian kids do not attend swimming lessons and are missing out on a lifesaving skill, Swim Australia has warned.
The Swim Safer report showed 41 per cent of parents had no intention of signing their child up ahead of summer.
A third (30 per cent ) of Australian families admitted to experiencing a water related emergency such as a near drowning experience, and one-in-three (34 per cent) parents were not confident their child could get themselves out of trouble in an emergency.
The trend is concerning for Swim Australia CEO Brendon Ward who urged parents to prioritise swimming as a skill every child needs.
“It is vital for parents in Australia to ensure their children have the appropriate knowledge and confidence to be safe around water and be equipped with the skills to help them in an emergency,” he said.
“SwimSAFER Week is an opportunity for parents to re-educate themselves about why learning to swim is proven to be one of the top drowning prevention measures.
“So much of our Australian culture involves the water, from the classic poolside BBQ, to a day at the beach with the family.
“Despite this, more than half of Aussie children do not attend swimming lessons because their parents don’t have time or cannot afford it.
“Yet one in two children (53 per cent) still attend another activity or sport like football or dancing.”
He said while any physical activity is important for health and wellbeing, swimming should be “non-negotiable”.
“No other activity has the same lifesaving lessons as learning to swim does. It’s a matter of safety.”
In line with SwimSAFER Week, Swim Australia has launched the ‘Swim It Forward’ initiative which aims to reduce the barriers for parents by generating funds to assist more families to afford swimming lessons.
By donating the equivalent of one lesson (or just $20) Swim Australia will be able to help more families access lessons, while at the same time impacting the swimming industry, which took a big hit due to COVID.
Donations for ‘Swim It Forward’ initiative can be made at www.swimsafer.org.au.