Babies the key to cutting national drowning figures
JUMP! Swim Schools is urging parents to keep children’s drowning figures on a downward trend as statistics last month revealed an overall increase in national drowning deaths this year.
JUMP! Swim Schools managing director Ian Campbell said,
“Children under five are a high priority for drowning prevention initiatives and the statistics reinforce the importance of all children to develop water confidence and swimming skills by the time they are primary school age.”
Ian said the report reinforced the need for swimming to be taught early as a life skill for all Australians, with inland waterways continuing to be a leading location for drowning.
“At JUMP! Swim Schools we have seen a 31% increase in babies learning to swim since this time 7 years ago, so we’re definitely seeing a lot more parents realising how important it is to get their kids into lessons before they start school.”
The new Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report 2017 released last month showed a 32% increase in 0 to 4-year-old drowning’s this year, the total number equalling 29. The report found that 45% of these drowning’s occurred in backyard swimming pools.
Ian commended Royal Life Saving’s commitment to reducing the number of drowning deaths in Australia and supports Royal Life Saving Society Australia CEO Justin Scarr in urging parents to ensure that their children participate in programs to build vital water safety skills to prevent drowning and promote lifelong safe aquatic activity.
“It’s a matter of re-educating parents to realise that swimming lessons isn’t just for sport and fitness – it is a safety measure which can save lives.
“Learning to swim isn’t just for older kids. 46% of our students are under 4 years old and that is testament to our understanding of how capable babies are and our abilities to teach babies as young as three months of age. In fact, one of our most popular levels is our 3–9 month old baby class.”
JUMP! Swim Schools — with 50 centres open across the country, a further 50 to open within the next twelve months, along with a new presence in New Zealand, Singapore and Brazil — is specialist in early years swim teaching for children and babies from three months of age.
JUMP! had identified the demand for learn to swim in regional and remote centres, many of which had no public swimming pools or swim schools, as part of its aim to ensure more Australian children were competent and exposed to the fundamental life skill of swimming and water safety, he said.
“The iconic Australian lifestyle centres around water-based activities whether it’s surfing or sailing on the coast, rowing or skiing on our rivers, fishing or canoeing in our lakes, or enjoying family time in the backyard pool or hotel resort.
“At the very foundation of these activities is water confidence. This confidence and ensuing journey through water should begin as early as three months of age and continue all year round.”
Ian said parents who were seeking swimming lessons for babies were driving the growth of the JUMP! group that only opened its first franchise in mid-2014 on Queensland’s Gold Coast.
“At JUMP! we have put specialised education back into learn-to-swim by crafting a tailored, competency-based program that is backed by the latest child care and teaching research.
“We are committed to ensuring every child has the opportunity to learn swimming as a life skill and are doing this by opening sites in rural areas and regional communities lacking a public swimming pool as well as high growth regions without adequate pool facilities.”