Diving in to swim safety

Narre Warren swim school owner and marathon swimmer Tammy van Wisse.

Marathon swimmer Tammy van Wisse is among a group of high-profile Australians lending their support to help increase water safety education for under-fives.

Ms van Wisse has joined other famous Aussies including Dave Hughes (Hughesy), Cathy Freeman, Anna Meares and Mark Minichiello to be part of the Kids Alive Storytime with Famous Friends, which involves the stars reading one of the Kids Alive water safety books covering safety messages for the pool, beach, farm, and home.

Ms van Wisse is no stranger to water, having swum over 65,000kms in her career – including swimming the English Channel twice – and she is the only person to have swum across the treacherous Bass Strait from King Island to Apollo Bay.

As a swim school owner in Narre Warren, Ms van Wisse is passionate about giving kids the skills to be safe around water, through swimming lessons and education programs and said the Kids Alive Storytime with Famous Friends initiative helped children absorb water safety messages in a really fun way.

“I believe there is absolutely nothing more important that you can do for your child than give them the skills to be safe around water,” she said.

“Tragically, drowning is still one of the leading causes of accidental death in children under five and I find this absolutely heartbreaking.”

Laurie Lawrence, who founded Kids Alive 21 years ago, said the book reads aligned with aspects of the Australian Water Safety Strategy 2030 in supporting the availability of education to the at-risk zero to four years age group.

“Kids Alive is solely focused on educating families with young ones in this age group and the Storytime with Famous Friends is another way for us to reach more people and make our message as engaging and accessible as possible,” he said.

“We are so thankful to all of our famous Aussies who have donated their time and produced a video of themselves reading one of our books.”

Ms van Wisse said while there had been significant progress made in educating and engaging the under-five age group, especially with the Kids Alive initiatives like the famous Kids Alive – Do the Five song, there was still much work to be done.

“Until the drowning toll is at zero, we must continue to spread the water safety message to both parents and children.”

Kids Alive Storytime with Famous Friends debut on Kids Alive Facebook @kids.alive.do.the.five on the third Friday of every month and then can be found as replays on Kidsalive.com.au on the Kids Channel.