A new survey of New Zealand mothers shows that 78% of Kiwi babies are being taken swimming by their parents before they turn three. However the survey also shows that less than half are actually attending water confidence lessons.
The findings from the Colmar Brunton survey, commissioned by HUGGIES Little Swimmers® Swimpants, indicate that more than 100,000 under-threes will enjoy swim-time with their families this summer: 56% at a public pool, 53% at the beach and 37% in a private pool (based on statistics showing that 50,000 babies are born in New Zealand each year). However, only 45% of under-threes are being taken to water confidence lessons where important building blocks of water safety are taught.
Sue Campbell, Child Safety Advisor at Plunket, says it’s good news that Kiwi parents and whānau are enjoying the opportunity to visit pools and beaches with their young families, engaging in safe water play together.
“Getting into the water with your baby is a learning experience for both of you – your baby is learning about the water, and you’re learning how you can be safe together in the water,” Ms Campbell says.
Ms Campbell says water confidence lessons are a great way to consolidate learning about how to be safe in water for both children and their parents and she welcomes HUGGIES Little Swimmers® Swimpants supporting parents, who enrol their children in lessons, for a second year.
Designed to help keep pool water clean while also giving parents an incentive to enrol their toddlers in water confidence lessons, the HUGGIES Little Swimmers® Swimpants safe water initiative will see New Zealand’s favourite nappy brand, which is a long-standing sponsor of Plunket, offer 2500 free pairs of swimpants for swim teachers at participating swim schools around the country to give to parents for their children (who are under 18 months old) to wear at their first water confidence lesson in Term one, 2016.
Sue Campbell is pleased the survey has also shown that parents are aware of the first steps in the journey towards children becoming confident in water. The survey found 92% of parents saw enjoyment as a motivation for taking their baby swimming, closely followed by: developing water skills; awareness of how to be safe in water; and water confidence to help make learning to swim easier later on.
Participating swim schools include four YMCA swim schools in Auckland, CLM SwimMagic swim schools from Whangarei to Nelson and council-run swim schools and water parks in Hamilton, Gisborne, Hastings, New Plymouth, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill. Click here for details and a list of participating pools.