One in five primary kids can't swim

A new report has found 20 per cent of children cannot swim 50 metres.
A new report has found 20 per cent of children cannot swim 50 metres.

AN alarming statistic which has surfaced this summer shows one in five primary school children cannot swim the length of an Olympic pool.

But most concerning was a report which showed the number of child drownings had risen by 20 per cent during the past two years.

The Royal Life Saving Society of Australia has highlighted the danger, saying children in the five to 14 age bracket were most at risk.

The findings have really sunk in for parents in the Coffs Harbour and Bellingen areas, who were recently advised by Royal Life Saving on the need for children to develop strong swimming skills.

Royal Life Saving chief executive Rob Bradley told parents the issue was of grave concern as potentially thousands of local school children were leaving primary school with virtually no ability to swim.

“It’s estimated that more than 50,000 kids, aged 11 and 12, cannot confidently swim 50 metres,” Mr Bradley said. “Our 2010 National Drowning Report reveals the number of deaths is the highest number at any time in the past seven years with 314 drowning deaths.

“That equates to an overall increase of 20 per cent since 2008.”

“Thousands of Australian school children are now going through our primary schools learning little to no basic water safety skills.”

The report found most drownings happened at beaches.

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