Launch of the Second Annual Swim Safer Week
We are proud to be partnering with Swim Coaches & Teachers NZ and Water Safety NZ in promoting the second annual Swim Safer Week (13 – 19 November). Commencing today, we are supporting this education campaign addressing concerning gaps in water safety knowledge and swimming skills, particularly among our tamariki.
During the week, swim schools from across the country are participating in events and activities aimed at raising awareness of the importance of learning to swim and encouraging enrolment in swimming lessons. Globally recognised pre-school brand PJ Masks is supporting Swim Safer Week hoping to encourage more children under five to learn to swim.
The recent Swim Safer Report has revealed nearly half (43%) of NZ kids don’t attend swimming lessons and only 30% of parents reported they were confident their child has the skills to help themselves in a water emergency. The findings also found that more than half of parents surveyed (54%) are not confident in their own abilities to help save someone in trouble in the water.
The Swim Safer Report also revealed that 38% of families don’t enrol their children in lessons because they believed they were too young to learn to swim.
Swimming NZ’s Chief Executive, Steve Johns, believes that everyone should learn to swim and it’s never too young to start.
“Learning to swim is such an important life skill. We are fortunate that New Zealand is surrounded by stunning beaches as well as pristine lakes and rivers, and is a rich part of our culture. It’s imperative that Kiwis are learning to swim from a young age so we can foster a lifelong love of the water.”
Our three-time Paralympic Champion and Swimming NZ’s Disability & Para Swimming Participation Manager, Cameron Leslie, is a Swim Safer Week ambassador. Alongside his remarkable athletic achievements to champion the cause for learning to swim, as a father of three this initiative is also deeply personal.
"I firmly believe that swimming is a transformative force. It's not only a life skill but also an empowering and liberating experience. The joy of being in the water and the confidence it brings are truly life-changing," said the Swim Safer Week ambassador. "I am passionate about ensuring every Kiwi child has the opportunity to learn to swim and be safe in the water. As a father of three, I understand the significance of this more than ever."
Swim Coaches and Teachers New Zealand President, Daniel Fulton, urged parents to get their children into swimming lessons early, to give them the lifelong water safety knowledge and swimming skills needed to be safe around water.
“By the age of six months, children can start infant learn to swim programs, where the child explores and enjoys the water with their parents. Kids are exposed to water of all forms right from birth, so it’s important they get comfortable in and around water as early as possible.”
Water Safety NZ’s Chief Executive, Daniel Gerrard, said it was extremely concerning that only 30% of parents were confident their child had the skills to help themselves in a water emergency.
“It’s our responsibility to ensure our kids are developing the necessary skills to be confident in the water,” he said. “It’s also very disturbing that we have over 50% of parents saying they are not sure they have the swimming skills to help save someone who is in trouble in the water.”
With cost-of-living increases hitting vulnerable Kiwi families hard, the Swim Safer Week also has the Swim It Forward project to help make swimming lessons accessible to all children, regardless of their circumstances. You can donate to the Swim It Forward project to help provide more access to learn to swim lessons.
You can get involved in the Swim Safer Week by re-educating yourself about why learning to swim is one of the top drowning prevention measures.