How to score free swimming lessons for kids
YOUNG children should have at least two swimming lessons a week to help prevent drowning deaths, according to former Olympic coach Laurie Lawrence.
Mr Lawrence, who is an ambassador for the Learn2Swim Week, urged parents to take advantage of free lessons for kids under the age of five as part of the swimming awareness campaign which kicked off yesterday.
"Parents can get their kids to try the lessons and see how good it is. Kids that start lessons early are smarter and safer in and around water," he said.
"It would be a tremendous impetus in drowning prevention."
Close to 500 swim schools across Australia are expected to offer free lessons as part of the Poolwerx campaign, up from 350 last year.
Drowning is the number one cause of accidental death in children under five.
Mr Lawrence said his two daughters were able to swim by 18 months after he gave them daily lessons more than 40 years ago.
"By time they were 18 months, they could both swim in the pool," he said.
While the former Australian Olympic coach said one lesson a week was "good," he recommended a minimum of two lessons.
"Go to places like South Bank and your local pool and give your kids the opportunity to play and explore in the water. The more you put them in the water the better they're going to get," he said.
Mr Lawrence, who is now training his grandkids to swim, said he started pouring water on the babies faces when they were as young as seven-weeks-old.
"At seven weeks we started them in the bath and started to pour water on their face to teach them to hold their breath on command.
"They come from a watery environment in the womb so if you start maintaining that natural affinity with water at an early age, they never know the fear of water," he said.