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Dangerous summer predicted as children miss vital swim lessons

A group of kids are attending a swimming class. They are practicing kicking at the side of the pool. Source: Getty

Australians are looking forward to summer, spending time being outdoors and in the water after a year in and out of lockdowns. But, with the pandemic putting swimming lessons on hold for longer than anticipated throughout the course of 2021, it's feared some children are falling behind and being put at risk of accidents. A new national information campaign aims to avoid drowning tragedies.

For many Australians, learning to swim is an integral part of their childhood.  

But, with COVID-19 lockdowns sweeping much of the nation, the vast majority have been forced to stay out of the water due to stay-at-home orders over the course of this year, leaving little opportunity for children to take lessons.  

New research shows one in two Australian children are not learning to swim, with 27 per cent of those unable to attend lessons due to COVID restrictions. 

That's according to new data commissioned by a SwimSafer Report, prompting concerns from experts, who warn a lack of exposure could heighten the risk of drowning this summer.   

Swim Australia Ambassador and former Olympian Leisel Jones says it's vital that children learn how to swim.

Swimming is a life-saving skill, yet 54 per cent of Australian children are not in lessons, because some families can't afford it. I know firsthand the impact it has when there is a drowning incident in a family; it affects every single person throughout that family and so it's so important to have that skill so that children can be safe and comfortable around water.

 

Click on the player at the top of the page to listen to this information in Punjabi.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at https://www.sbs.com.au/language/coronavirus

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