Multicultural children learn to Swim and Survive

29 May 2015

Drowning remains one of the leading causes of preventable death in Australian children. Between 1 July 2013 and 30 June 2014, 3 children aged 0-14 drowned in backyard swimming pools in WA. In addition on average there are 10 children admitted to hospitals across the state following an immersion injury for every drowning death in this age group.

In order to prevent these tragedies, every Australian child must have basic swimming, water safety skills and knowledge of how to be safe when they are in, on, or around the water. The reality is in many communities, a swimming and water safety education is simply not accessible.

Children from low socio-economic areas, Indigenous communities, culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) backgrounds and those that live in regional or remote locations are most likely to miss out because of a lack of access and social or economic disadvantage.

Royal Life Saving believes that every child has the right to learn basic swimming and water safety skills, regardless of who you are or where you live.

The Royal Life Saving Swim and Survive Access & Equity Program aims to reduce barriers to participation, by providing quality swimming and water safety lessons for children experiencing social or economic disadvantage. The Program achieves this by increasing access to safe aquatic facilities, qualified instructors and by providing structured swimming and water safety education via the Swim & Survive program.

Recently, 38 children from Aboriginal & CaLD backgrounds have begun participating in a Swim and Survive program conducted by Royal Life Saving WA. The 10 week program is being conducted once a week at the Cannington Leisureplex. The children are aged 5 -12 years are also participants of the Communicare Inc 'Get Active Project'.

"We strongly value the support of Royal Life Saving and are delighted that children from the Cannington community area have been provided with the opportunity to participate in this vital drowning prevention initiative", said Brittany Goss, Get Active Project Officer - Communicare Inc.

The Swim and Survive Access and Equity program is proudly supported by Royal Life Saving Society WA's Principal Community Partner BHP Billiton.

The program is designed to address limited water safety awareness and low participation levels in at-risk communities. The Swim and Survive Access and Equity program will target over 600 at-risk students this year. A further 800 participants will receive vital water safety awareness via activities such as water safety talks and resuscitation courses.

"The Swim and Survive Access & Equity Program not only helps children to have fun while being active and making new friends, but participating in this program helps to build their confidence in the water, while learning vital swimming and water safety skills that may one day save their life" said Trent Hotchkin, Senior Manager, Royal Life Saving Society WA.

BHP Billiton has shared a long term partnership with the Royal Life Saving Society of WA for over 10 years, achieving great outcomes through education and training in water safety and health and wellbeing.

Royal Life Saving has also established The Swim and Survive Fund which utilises donations from individuals, community organisations, corporate supporters and Royal Life Saving Partner facilities across Australia, to increase access to swimming and water safety education for children at risk of drowning.

You can support the Swim and Survive Fund and help Royal Life Saving provide more Australian children with the opportunity to Swim and Survive by making a tax deductible donation.