Learning to swim can save young lives

LIFE SKILLS: Sam and Jessie Rose with Tolyson Baker and Aleksandar Hall learn basic swimming skills at Ken Glass Swimming. Photo: Jacob Wilson
LIFE SKILLS: Sam and Jessie Rose with Tolyson Baker and Aleksandar Hall learn basic swimming skills at Ken Glass Swimming. Photo: Jacob Wilson

AFTER 18 years of teaching people how to swim, few people understand the importance of teaching kids to swim more than Ken Glass.

The owner of Ken Glass Swimming in Park Ridge said developing skills at a young age was a vital life skill.

“Every child should have basic water safety skills as soon as possible,” Mr Glass said.

“If schools can make kids have Ipads to do their education what is more important? Swimming is a life skill and that is how passionate we are about it.”

According to Queensland government figures, 19 children drowned in 2016-17 and 14 of them were younger than five years old.

Mr Glass said he taught kids from as young as 12 months old and added that it was important to tailor swimming education to individual circumstances.

“If you can get a child in the water and they are scared well they might need a noodle...somewhere along the lines you have got to have the kid tell you what they can do,” he said.

“We teach basic skills and teach them how to identify risks whether at the pool or the beach so they have ideas on what to do if something goes wrong.”

The issue of swimming safety has been brought into the spotlight as a result of a “Save Our School Kids” campaign which calls for both sides of politics to commit to funding compulsory swimming lessons for every school student.

While the Queensland government is yet to make this commitment, Department of Education showed 96 per cent of more than 1000 state schools have access to Learn to Swim grants.

Education Minister Grace Grace said she would look at the barriers preventing 38 Queensland schools from offering the program.

The LNP Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington has announced she would fully fund the commitment.

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