Royal Life Saving says 50,000 children will leave primary school this summer unable to swim, making them highly vulnerable to drowning.
Royal Life Saving says 50,000 children will leave primary school this summer unable to swim, making them highly vulnerable to drowning.

Lessons that save lives

AS we kick off the start of summer, there is nothing more inviting than taking a dip in the pool in this Central Highlands heat.

But with the increase of pool use around the region, Royal Life Saving is warning a drowning crisis is looming.

Figures show at least 50,000 children will finish primary school this summer without the ability to swim the length of an Olympic pool or keep themselves afloat for two minutes - the national benchmark.

Royal Life Saving chief executive officer Rob Bradley said the figures were absolutely shameful and a national disgrace.

"Every child deserves a swimming and water safety education and urgent measures are needed to fix this issue. Being able to swim and enjoy the water safely is a fundamental right of every Australian child," he said.

To combat the crisis, Royal Life Saving has partnered with Uncle Tobys to launch the Swim and Survive program, which is focused on water safety education and saving children's lives.

Executive director of Royal Life Saving Society Queensland Michael Darben said research showed children were most likely to miss out on swimming education if they were from lower socio-economic areas, indigenous communities, some multi-cultural backgrounds, or if they lived in rural and remote locations.

Royal Life Saving has since established the Swim and Survive Fund to ensure that no child misses out.

Already more than 1000 children have received a Swim and Survive course free of charge.

Royal Life Saving also urges all parents to ensure their children are enrolled in a program that will give them swimming skills.

For more information, visit swimandsurvive.com.au.


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