Printed Date: 24/07/2024

Swimming THE most important life skill - Drowning Prevention Week

Teaching swimming is THE most important life skill we can teach our children – even more important than learning about first aid.

That’s according to research out today which says more than half of parents (56%) say it tops their list of priorities.

The survey also found 1 in 5 people found swimming more useful in their adult life than most other subjects like science (17%), computing (15%), and even sex education (8%).

And, with the summer holidays fast approaching, 71% of parents fear their children might drown abroad.

The study by Better, to mark Drowning Prevention Week, highlighted how 42% were “very concerned” about the risk of drowning on a family holiday, more so than food poisoning (28%) or catching an illness (26%).

And parents have reason to be worried due to challenges schools are facing in giving swimming lessons.

Over 70% of primary schools rely upon public swimming pools to do so, but, in recent years, many pool operators have faced rising energy costs of up to 150% which has threatened a reduction in programmes, and even the closure of some pools.

Also, over a third of primary school teachers provided fewer than 10 swimming lessons per pupil during the academic year 2022-23.

This has contributed to the proportion of children being able to swim 25m by year 7 in 2022/23 dropping by 6% compared to 2017/18.

Outside of school, 58% say the cost of pool access of lessons are a barrier to participating in swimming.

Availability of public transport (26%), the cost of pool access (58%) and the time it takes to get to the pool (28%) are also cited as barriers.

To help avoid accidental deaths this summer, the public are being urged not to jump in after someone - as difficult as it may seem - stay calm, stay on land and follow this 3-step rescue guide:

1. Call 999 to get help immediately
2. Tell the struggling person to float on their back
3. Throw them something that floats


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