Are we failing our children by not teaching them to swim?

The National – Swimming Pool and Allied Trades Association (SPATA), has put out an alert ahead of the summer, urging parents to plan in more water skills time with their young children. Providing essential life skills that will make a big difference to children’s lives.

There is nothing quite like getting out and swimming in a pool. However, whether it’s with friends or family, in a pool at home or abroad or enjoying a picnic by a river or swimming in a lake, it’s always important to keep safe.

From the first few months of birth parents are encouraged to spend time with their baby in the pool, and at this early stage, these infants can be taught crucial water skills. Charities such as the Jack Rabbit Foundation, are raising awareness for the safety of babies and toddlers in and around water encouraging the teaching early years water survival programs which are popular in the United States and Australia but need more publicity in the UK and Europe: http://www.thejackrabbitfoundation.com

Under the National Curriculum, all children by the age of 11 years should be able to swim 25 metres unaided, ensuring they have some knowledge of safety in the water. It is always good to have competent swimmers at hand who can swim to an emergency if need be. Where possible, use a swim school so that children can learn to swim correctly and safely. Key swimming organisations include http://www.sta.co.uk or http://www.britishswimming.org

Around 400 people needlessly drown in the UK every year, and thousands more suffer injury, some life changing, through near-drowning experiences. Putting this into context, one person dies every 20 hours in the UK. Drowning is also the third highest cause of accidental death of children in the UK. So the need for children (and adults) to be competent and confident in and around water is essential.

If you have a garden pool or body of water, it is crucial to keep it safe so that everyone can enjoy their time in and around the water.