Cassidy enjoying a day on the water with her mum, Nicole, who made sure she had a life jacket on.
Cassidy enjoying a day on the water with her mum, Nicole, who made sure she had a life jacket on. Contributed

Yeppoon mum's passion teaching daughter lifesaving skill

RAISING her daughter near the beach without teaching her how to swim was not an option for Yeppoon woman Nicole Condon.

Four months on from Cassidy's first swimming lesson and Nicole says she's taken to the water just like a fish.

Nicole stressed the importance of giving her 10-month-old the chance to learn a vital skill after seeing family members struggle with water.

Her comments come in the wake of News Corp's campaign to push the State Government to make swimming lessons compulsory in all Queensland schools.

"We have a dam on our property, have a boat and go down the beach so it was important for her safety,” she said.

"Kids shouldn't be scared of the water but should know their limits.”

Nicole and Cassidy at a swimming lesson at Little Fish Swim Academy in Yeppoon.
Nicole and Cassidy at a swimming lesson at Little Fish Swim Academy in Yeppoon. Contributed

Nicole said all children should learn how to swim but it was ultimately up to parents to make the commitment.

Swimming classes are currently available to young children at a cost but Nicole agreed school lessons should "definitely be compulsory in the future”.

Owner of Connolly's Little Fish Swim Academy, Annette Connolly, says too often she sees older children who have fallen through the cracks.

Teaching more that 350 kids a week over four years, Annette says education on water safety was vital.

"We see older kids who have no confidence in the water and our aim is to build that so they can feel safe,” she said.

Nicole Condon and her daughter, Cassidy, at a swimming lesson.
Nicole Condon and her daughter, Cassidy, at a swimming lesson. Contributed

Although child drownings in Queensland were down, eight children died between 2015 and 2016, three of those in pools.

According to Queensland Family and Child Commission reports, three children aged between 10 and 17 years old died in that time frame.

This is reportedly a pattern that has been found in all previous reporting periods and an indication of the particular vulnerability of this age group.

Annette said swimming lessons could start for those as young as three months and "the earlier the better”.

Nicole said thanks to swimming lessons, she didn't feel anxious about Cassidy playing cheerfully in water and was looking forward to her second term at swimming school.



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