Kids' water safety a priority for mum

Signing her son up for swimming lessons was an easy decision for Papamoa mum Paula Smith.
She enrolled her son, Aidan, 10, in swimming lessons when he was just 4. His two siblings also learnt to swim when they were 4.
Mrs Smith said water safety was an essential life skill that was important for her children to learn from a young age.
"Swimming is something that offers a range of life skills, as well as the safety aspect and improving confidence in the water," she said.
"I am not confident in the water and that's why I wanted my kids to be able to swim."
Aidan and his siblings have grown up in Papamoa in a culture immersed in water activities.
"First up lessons were about gaining confidence in the water and that led into Aidan swimming at school.
"Then he got involved in Surf Lifesaving, so he could swim out in the sea, and now he plays waterpolo," Mrs Smith said.
Aidan began swimming at the Papamoa pools as a pre-schooler.
When Swimtec opened about two years ago, he moved under the guidance of swim instructor Jane Ford.
Mrs Ford founded a learn-to-swim programme, which catered for people of all ages and abilities.
Her youngest class involved six-month-old toddlers and her eldest client was about 77.
Mrs Ford said being safe in and around the water was all about education - for parents and children.
Although there are many water accidents each year, Mrs Ford said the number of people enrolling in swimming lessons had increased over the years.
"I think the message is beginning to come through."
Genevieve Helliwell

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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