A blunt warning from Royal Life Saving has been sent to parents, carers and local children in the Hawkesbury area that skipping swimming lessons during winter may cause children to fall behind, putting them at risk of drowning.
Aynsley’s Aquatics Swim School in Richmond is working with Royal Life Saving to get the message across that children should never be put at risk in or around water.
Figures from Royal Life Saving show 18 children aged 5-14 drowned in autumn and winter during the period 2002/03 to 2011/12. That’s 47 per cent of the total drowning deaths in NSW in this age group.
Mother of two and swim-school co-ordinator at Aynsley’s, Jacquie Rodney, said the key to swimming was continuity — the more the better.
“I practise what I preach; both my boys swim twice a week, all year round,” Mrs Rodney said. “They love the water and we look forward to our swim sessions each week.
“As a parent it is totally reassuring to know that my children are aquatics educated, confident and self-sufficient in the water at such a young age.”
Mrs Rodney said winter colds and flu could turn people away from enrolling their children in swimming lessons.
“Swimming is one of very few sports your children can participate in all year round, with heated pools across Australia,” she said.
“Swimming is beneficial for asthmatics, disabled, young and old and everyone in between.’’
Royal Life Saving NSW CEO David Macallister said that without question, it was children who don’t practise water-safety skills all year round who were likely to fall behind.
He said winter was a time to build on existing skills and improve fitness and endurance.