CHASE Milton is only three years old but is already learning to swim because no matter how vigilant you are, children can always surprise you, his mother Megan Milton believes.
It was an opinion echoed by Aquatic Centre manager Josh Maley, who said there was no excuse not to teach children to swim.
Mr Maley’s comments come after a Royal Life Saving Society report revealed a dramatic increase in the number of children who have drowned across Australia in the past year.
The report, released by the Royal Life Saving Society, says 31 children under the age of five died in waterways, pools and bathtubs in the 12 months to July this year. That’s an increase of 50 per cent.
There are no figures specifically for the Orange area but the report suggests rural and regional people are at a higher risk because of the time it can take for emergency crews to respond.
Mr Maley said it was important to get children used to water from a young age and enrol them in accredited swimming lessons when they turn three.
He said 42 children aged around six months old were enrolled in the mums and bubs classes.
“It’s a life skill that kids need to know and we get a lot of 40 and 50 year old people coming in saying that they regret that they never learned to swim,” he said.
Megan Milton enrolled her son Chase in swimming classes as soon as he was three and she regularly takes six-month-old Zoe to the pool.
Like her brother, Zoe will be learning to swim at an early age.
“[Chase] is always running off and jumping in,” she said.
“It’s really important that every child knows how to swim.”
Mr Maley said a regular excuse he heard not to utilise swimming lessons was because of the cost and lack of opportunity.
“There are three swim schools in town... here one lesson is $10.30,” he said.
“It’s a pretty important life skill especially in the country we live in.”
He was pleased to see a significant increase in the number of enrolled swimming students.
The centre has 470 at the moment which is double for the same time last year and all public school primary students get lessons in term four at the centre.