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The Value of Swim and Survive for Your Family

Swim and Survive is a national swimming and water safety 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.

Childhood is a time of wonder and mystery, exploration and fun, development and learning. As a parent or carer, you play a valuable role in reinforcing important water safety messages as your child grows. Positive aquatic experiences begin at birth and exposure to fun, safe water-based activities will help familiarise your child with water and build their confidence.

From 1st July 2009 to 30th June 2010, 56 children aged 0-17 drowned in Australia. Fifty-nine percent of these children were under 5 years of age. Research conducted by Royal Life Saving Society – Australia indicated that home swimming pools are the most common location in which drowning occurred, followed by the bathtub or spa bath. Accidental fall-in or wandering into the water is the most common form of unattended entry for young children.

Sadly, the drowning deaths are only part of a much larger picture. The National Injury Surveillance Unit (NISU) states that for every drowning death, 3 children are admitted to hospital following immersion. For every 5 children admitted to hospital, 1 child will be left with severe or persisting neurological impairment.

Since its inception thirty years ago, over 15 million Australian children have participated in the Swim and Survive program. Swim and Survive has made a significant contribution in many families lives by reducing the rate of drowning in 5-14 year olds by over 75%.

Royal Life Saving Society – Australia believes that children will be safer in the water by learning water safety, survival and swimming skills at an early age. Brenner et al (2009)* found a protective association between formal swimming lessons and the risk of drowning in children aged 1-4 years – an 88% interpreted reduction in the risk of drowning.

It is important to be mindful however, that swimming lessons alone will not make your child safe. While the inquisitive nature of young children increases their vulnerability, the benefit of active supervision (i.e. supervision that is close, constant and focused) should never be underestimated.

*Brenner, R.A., et al., Association Between Swimming Lessons and Drowning in Childhood. A Case-Control Study. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 2009. 163(3): p. 203.210.

For more information about Swim and Survive complete the Contact Us form with your information request or feedback. Your local Royal Life Saving State or Territory Branch will contact you directly to assist with your query.

© Copyright 2011 Swim and Survive