Parents urged to enrol children in vital Swim and Survive classes

17 January 2019

There have been 63 drowning deaths across Australia so far this summer, that’s 22 more than at the same time last year. Australia is in the midst of a drowning crisis and Royal Life Saving Society WA is working to turn this around by ensuring all Western Australians possess vital swimming, water safety, survival and rescue skills to reduce the incidence of drowning in our community.

According to the 2017-18 National Drowning Report, 249 people drowned across Australia with 27 of these in WA. Amongst children aged 0-14 there were 27 drowning deaths nationwide. Each of these deaths represents a family impacted by the tragedy of a drowning.

Here in WA there were no drowning deaths in the 5-14 age group last financial year, and while this is a fantastic result it is not a time to drop our guard.

Royal Life Saving Society WA’s Senior Manager Swimming and Water Safety Education, Trent Hotchkin, says “Royal Life Saving is committed to ensuring every child in WA has access to a Swim and Survive program, and we recognise that this task is even more important given WA’s climate and lifestyle that encourages so much activity around water. The challenge we face is to ensure each new generation acquires these skills, and that no-one misses out.”

Sean L’Estrange, Member for Churchlands and Royal Life Saving WA Swim and Survive Ambassador encourages all parents to ensure their children learn vital swimming and water safety skills.

"I congratulate and thank the Royal Life Saving Society of WA for all of the work it does with its Swim and Survive program to improve child safety around water. The goal must be zero child drownings each year because one death is an absolute tragedy."

"We love our Perth and West Australian lifestyle which is surrounded by water, be it backyard pools, beaches, public pools, rivers, lakes or dams. We are never far from enjoying ourselves around the water and this is why it is vital that our children learn to swim and survive from a very early age. It is also why we must remain vigilant when watching over children around water and why it is equally important for us to know CPR and emergency first aid."

Swim and Survive is an initiative of Royal Life Saving that seeks to increase the swimming and water safety skills of Australian children in order to prevent drowning and increase participation in safe aquatic activity. The aim of the program is to teach children not only how to swim but when and where to do so safely, and to provide participants with a platform for life-long participation in a wide variety of aquatic pursuits such as surfing, swimming, canoeing, sailing and lifesaving.

Mr Hotchkin says “Teaching children personal aquatic survival skills and water safety is the most important investment the community can make to reducing drowning, and has proven to be effective, with children aged 5-14 now the least likely of all age groups to drown.”

During 2017-18 199,018 children took part in the Swim and Survive program across our state, learning vital skills to be safe in, on and around the water. However, there are still too many children missing out, especially those from diverse cultural backgrounds, disadvantaged circumstances and regional areas.

Mr Hotchkin says “We are encouraging all parents to enrol their children in a Swim and Survive program at their local Royal Life Saving Endorsed Swim School, as giving children these swimming and water safety skills it’s the most effective way to eliminate childhood drowning.”

To find your nearest Endorsed Swim School click the link below.

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