The pool gate was left wedged open hours after the BBQ was over. She tiptoed over the wet towels that had fallen in front of the gate. The water was sparkling and she could see her mermaid Barbie underwater on the bottom step. "There you are!" she giggled. It was nearly time for her bath and she wanted mermaid Barbie. First step, the water is a bit colder now but she's almost there...second step, she can reach from here...third step is slippery...SPLASH....panic, can't reach the edge, cold water, fear, where's mummy, can't breathe... Scenes like this happen every year in Australia, some with devastating endings, like the ones we often hear in the media. Sometimes though, the survival skills they have learned in their swimming lessons kick in. At Northern Stars, I have heard several of these good ending stories from our clients and I know from speaking to others at our national conference recently that swim schools across the country are also hearing success stories from their little swimmers. Children who have participated in lessons and learned how to hold their breath, how to float on their back, how to kick back to the wall and climb out have a better chance of surviving an accidental fall in than those who have not learned these skills. Swimming lessons should therefore never be considered as just another of the activities kids can choose from. Ballet won't get them back to the wall, karate won't help them tread water and call for help, and music lessons won't help keep them afloat in a rip current. The bottom line is that swimming lessons are a big layer in the protection against drowning. Swimming skills save lives and must not be made negotiable for Aussie kids. Continuing swimming lessons all year round will ensure your children acquire and maintain skills that could save their life...Swimming Matters.