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Creators of self-taught kids swim programme hoping it will be affordable for all

The creators of a self-taught kids swimming programme are hoping the poorest communities will be able to access their cheaper alternative to expensive lessons.

Those who have designed the programme want all young children to have good swimming skills, not just those who can afford it. Source: 1 NEWS

New Zealand has one of the worst drowning tolls in the developed world.

Water Safety NZ says it’s twice that of Australia, and five times the toll of the UK.

In 2016 there were 78 preventable drowning deaths in New Zealand, and last year that jumped to 88.

So far this year there’s been 29.

The swimming book’s developers have designed a programme for young children to give them and their parents self-taught lessons that’ll last for five years.

Parents go through the book with children in the pool, teaching them from water-proof cards.

It costs just under $50, and developer Phil Waggott says it’s a cheaper option to make it more accessible for those from poorer communities.

Mr Waggott says he hopes to allay parents’ fears about getting kids in the water.

“That's what this book is all about, giving people confidence. A, Giving the parents confidence that they're doing the right thing, and B, giving the child confidence so they can learn the life-saving skills they need to not become one of the horrific drowning stats.”

Chief executive of Water Safety NZ, Jonty Mills, says “those who are less likely to be able to afford to have aquatic education are going to come out of the system without those basic skills.”

The pilot for the programme was partly government funded, through Water Safety New Zealand.

The programme designers hope government funding can be made available so their model can expand.