Kids get the jump on swim safety

Maddie learning water safety in her pyjamas. Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS 236249_03

A Berwick swim school is ensuring children are prepared for accidents around water by getting kids to wear their pyjamas in their swimming lessons as part of Water Safety Week.

Kids have donned their pyjamas at Jump Swim School Berwick from 3-9 May to help them prepare for real life water accidents.

Jump Swim Schools CEO Mark Collins said simply learning to swim was not enough as real water safety requires the ability to be able to swim fully clothed in varying circumstances.

“It’s critical to have core swimming skills that allow children to stay afloat and get themselves into a safe position – but falling into the water and having the confidence to handle the situation is much different to an organised swimming lesson environment,” said Mr Collins.

“Water accidents don’t always happen when children are in their swimmers.

“We’ve heard of situations where a child has ridden his bike into a lake and another where a young girl fell off a boat ramp – incidents can happen when you least expect it as there is water everywhere.”

Royal Lifesaving statistics show that swimming only accounts for around a quarter of drowning deaths while the majority of drownings are the result of accidentally falling into pools and waterways, being washed off rocks and falling from boats, scenarios where the victims struggled to survive while wearing clothing.

“We want to ensure kids have swimming skills but also the coping mechanisms, familiarity and key responses needed should they ever find themselves in a dangerous situation in the water,” Mr Collins said.

Owner of Jump Swim School Berwick, Marisa Rennie, said her students were excited for their pyjama classes.

She said the school had set up a number of scenarios for children to experience, including a beach area for lifejacket simulations and reach rescues.

“We make it a fun learning experience,” she said.

“It’s a life-saving skill. One day it might save their life or somebody else’s life.”

The water safety classes occur periodically throughout the year and cover key water safety skills including treading water, swimming without goggles, saving/alerting for help and assisting other children in a water emergency.

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