Redlands swim schools urged to offer free lessons for children under five during Learn2Swim week

LEARN2SWIM week organisers Poolwerx are urging Redlands swim schools to support the cause by offering free swimming lessons to children under five during the spring school holidays.

SWIMMING: Kids Alive - Do the Five founder Laurie Lawrence is the Learn2Swim week ambassador.

SWIMMING: Kids Alive - Do the Five founder Laurie Lawrence is the Learn2Swim week ambassador.

Brian McKenzie from Poolwerx Birkdale and Wayne O'Malley from Poolwerx Redland Bay said Learn2Swim week aimed to prevent drowning related deaths in children under five-years-old.

"By offering free swimming lessons, we hope Learn2Swim Week makes it easier for both parents and children to experience the importance of water safety," they said.

"Children aged zero to four years are at the highest risk for both fatal and non-fatal drownings and for every five children admitted to hospital following immersion, one will be left with potentially severe or persisting brain impairment."

Mr McKenzie said Poolwerx research showed 36 per cent of parents who registered their child for Learn2Swim week in 2018 had gone through the trauma of a near-drowning experience or knew of someone who had.

"It is scary to think so many people have had to face such a terrifying experience with a loved one," he said.

"We know the ability to swim is one of the most important factors in reducing the risk of childhood drowning, so we need to introduce more kids to water familiarisation as early as possible."

Kids Alive - Do the Five founder Laurie Lawrence, who has partnered with Poolwerx for the Learn2Swim program, said swim schools could show their local community they cared about saving lives by offering free lessons.

"Under-fives have one of the highest drowning rates in the country, so they need to know how to respect and handle the water," he said.

"...Last year 66 per cent of parents of who participated in the event kept their children in swimming lessons long-term, which shows the message is getting through and parents are understanding how vital learning to swim is at an early age."

Learn2Swim week will run from September 30 until October 7.

Redlands swim schools must register for the program before Wednesday, August 14.

Public registrations open on August 21.

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