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Article

Learning to Swim: An Exploration of Negative Prior Aquatic Experiences Among Children

by 1,2,3,* and 1,2
1
Royal Life Saving Society, Sydney 2007, NSW, Australia
2
College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville 4811, QLD, Australia
3
School of Public Health and Community Medicine, UNSW Sydney, Kensington 2052, NSW, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(10), 3557; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17103557
Received: 13 April 2020 / Revised: 7 May 2020 / Accepted: 12 May 2020 / Published: 19 May 2020
Learning to swim via a structured program is an important skill to develop aquatic competencies and prevent drowning. Fear of water can produce phobic behaviors counterproductive to the learning process. No research examines the influence of negative aquatic experiences on learning to swim. This study explored the influence of children’s negative prior aquatic experiences (NPAE) on learn-to-swim achievement via swim school data. Children’s enrolment records (5–12 years) in the Australian Capital Territory were analyzed via demographics, level achieved and NPAE. NPAE was recorded as yes/no, with free text thematically coded to 16 categories. Of 14,012 records analyzed (51% female; 64% aged 6–8 years), 535 (4%) reported a NPAE at enrolment. Males, children with a medical condition and attending public schools were significantly more likely (p = 0.001) to report a NPAE. Children reporting a NPAE achieved a lower average skill level at each year of age. The largest proportion (19%) of NPAE reported related to swimming lessons. NPAE have a detrimental influence on aquatic skill achievement. We recommend increased adult supervision to reduce likelihood of an NPAE occurring, while also encouraging swim instructors to consider NPAE when teaching swimming and develop procedures to ensure a NPAE does not occur during instruction. View Full-Text
Keywords: drown; swim; physical education; child; swimming lessons; aquatic activity; teaching; prevention; safety; business drown; swim; physical education; child; swimming lessons; aquatic activity; teaching; prevention; safety; business
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MDPI and ACS Style

Peden, A.E.; Franklin, R.C. Learning to Swim: An Exploration of Negative Prior Aquatic Experiences Among Children. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 3557. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17103557

AMA Style

Peden AE, Franklin RC. Learning to Swim: An Exploration of Negative Prior Aquatic Experiences Among Children. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(10):3557. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17103557

Chicago/Turabian Style

Peden, Amy E., and Richard C. Franklin 2020. "Learning to Swim: An Exploration of Negative Prior Aquatic Experiences Among Children" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 10: 3557. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17103557

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