For many young people, learning to swim is a key part of growing up. Swimming lessons often lead to Rookie Lifeguard courses, diving clubs or other water-based activities.
Without basic swimming skills, young people may also be excluded from an increasing number of school activities and trips. A big part of early swimming lessons involves learning how to enjoy the water safely. This means understanding what to do if you get into trouble and how to call for help. This is also known as ‘safe self-rescue’.
With drowning being the third most common cause of accidental death in children, it is vital that young people are also made aware of the dangers of different types of water. For example, swimming in the sea with its currents, cold water and seaweed is very different from swimming in a pool.
The importance for all young people to learn swimming skills and about water safety was underlined by the Department for Education in 1994 when it made swimming and water safety lessons compulsory during primary school.
Benefits of water safety and swimming lessons:
- Learning to swim allows young people to have fun in the water with family and friends.
- Water safety is an essential life-saving skill.
- Learning about water safety in different water environments and situations is vital to staying safe in and around water.
- Swimming provides numerous physical and mental benefits throughout a young person’s life. It is good for the heart and lungs, can help with muscle development, and is also thought to help concentration.
- Knowing how to swim provides access to many other water-related activities – and careers.
First Aid for Life - Water safety guild for children and parents
Canal and River Trust - Water safety tips for parents
Safe Kids Worldwide - Water safety at home
Rospa - Water safety code