Aussie swim legend Laurie Lawrence is spruiking an initiative that aims to see every Aussie child under the age of five experience learning to swim.
In a bid to reduce drowning statistics, Kids Alive, the organisation Lawrence founded in the 80s, has paired with PoolWorx to get hundreds of swim schools across the country involved.
The Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report launched on Tuesday revealed the rate of drownings across the country continues to rise. Drownings had increased by nine to 291 last year, on top of an estimated 685 near misses.
"One life is too many. Another nine is unacceptable and 291 is tragic," said Health Minister Greg Hunt.
Worldwide, drowning is the number one cause of accidental death in children under 5 years of age. In Australia, one person on average, drowns every week.
Kids Alive Learn2Swim research revealed only 49% of parents take their children to swimming lessons.
And the reason?
The most common explanation was the perceived high cost and the fact parents believed it was the schools' responsibility.
Triple M has been speaking with Lawrence, who says there are no excuses.
"Look you can't learn to swim if you don't get in the water. That's a pretty basic principle"
"So what I'm saying..grandparents out there, if you're retired and you have kids under 5..have some fun with them, take them to the pool, play with them. Give them an opportunity to explore or pay for some swimming lessons for them but for God's sake, get out there and get the kids taught to swim."
"If it's too expensive, cut out the smokes for a week or the beer"
So, if you're keen to follow Lawrence's advice and get the kids in the water, here's what you need to know:
- Learn2Swim Week 2017 will be held during the September holidays from September 23 – October 2.
- The aim is to give every child in Australia and New Zealand aged under five the opportunity to learn to swim
- Free swim lessons are offered to children aged under five at participating swim schools across the country
- Click HERE to enter your postcode and find the nearest participating swim school