Kurri Kurri Aquatic and Fitness Centre offers free swimming lessons for children under five during Learn2Swim Week 2019

SPLASH: Lauren Porteus and her son Xavier at Kurri Kurri Aquatic and Fitness Centre, which will offer free lessons for kids under five during Learn2Swim Week.
SPLASH: Lauren Porteus and her son Xavier at Kurri Kurri Aquatic and Fitness Centre, which will offer free lessons for kids under five during Learn2Swim Week.

Kurri Kurri Aquatic and Fitness Centre will offer free swimming lessons for children under five during Learn2Swim Week, which runs from September 30 to October 7.

Parents must register their children for the program, which is a joint initiative of Poolwerx and Laurie Lawrence's Kids Alive Do the Five.

Tragically, 18 children under five years old drowned in Australia last year - including 12 who drowned in backyard pools.

Research from Poolwerx has shown that 36 percent of parents have had a child or knew someone whose child had suffered a near-drowning experience.

And while drowning can often be a silent killer, 45 per cent of parents admitted they would expect excessive splashing if a child was drowning.

"Drowning is the leading cause of preventable death for children under the age of five, which is why we continue - with the help of swim schools across the country - to bring free swimming lessons to parents with preschool-aged children," David Nelmes from Poolwerx Cessnock said.

Kids Alive - Do the Five founder Laurie Lawrence said while the number of accidental drownings in swimming pools in Australia is decreasing, there is still much more to be done to prevent it altogether.

"Under-fives have one of the highest drowning rates in the country, so they need to know how to respect and handle themselves in the water," Lawrence said.

"Last year 66 per cent of parents who participated in the event kept their children in swimming lessons long-term, which shows the message is getting through and parents are understanding how vital learning to swim is at an early age."

Kurri Kurri Aquatic and Fitness Centre manager Kate Grigor said Learn2Swim Week is a great opportunity for families to get their child used to the water.

"Being in the Hunter where families have access to aquatic environments such as a backyard pool, beaches, dams, rivers and creeks, it really emphasises to families to introduce their children to swimming lessons to not only familiarise their child to water but also to teach them a life lesson to respect water," she said.

"At KKAFC we start our swimming programs from three months of age as we believe the earlier children are introduced to aqua play with their families the better.

"Learn2Swim Week is a great opportunity for families to get their child started in the swimming, and we are so glad to be able to be involved with Laurie Lawrence's crusade for children's swimming lessons in Australia."

Learn2Swim Week 2019 will run from September 30 to October 7. To register your child, visit learn2swimweek.com.

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