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One in six Swedish children can’t swim

TT/Rebecca Martin · 8 Jul 2011, 07:03

Published: 08 Jul 2011 07:03 GMT+02:00

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“The study shows that the number of drowning accidents has been decreasing steadily over the last few decades, which is gratifying. But the fact that as many as 13 percent of all kids aged 10 to 15 can’t swim is a worrying number,“ said insurance expert Björn Sporrong of Trygg Hansa in a statement, adding that kids within this age-group often go swimming with their friends without adults accompanying them.

Almost 25 percent of parents also state that their children haven’t attended swimming school.

The most common reason seems to be that the parents think it isn’t necessary, followed by the reasoning that the children get swimming classes for free in school.

But not everyone is happy about the amount of swimming classes offered through Swedish school.

“It should be obligatory through school for them to learn how to swim, but it doesn’t seem to be, despite the rules,” said one parent to Sveriges Television (SVT).

The survey also showed that 27 percent of Swedish parents are worried that something will happen to their kids at the beach, compared to 9 percent who are worried for their safety at a public swimming pool.

According to the results almost one in four parents have had to save theirs or someone else’s child from the water.

“This high number shows that there is a great need of life-saving skills required, not just for parents, but for everyone,” said Sporrong.

The survey shows that the number of kids who can’t swim is highest in Stockholm and in the northern parts of central Sweden, where 19 percent of parents said their kids couldn’t swim.

Compared to northern Sweden and the southern counties of Skåne, Halland and Blekinge where the figure is 11 percent.

Story continues below…

“If nothing is done about the level of swimming proficiency among kids in Sweden we can expect more drowning accidents in the future,” said Sporrong to SVT.

The study was based on a survey of 1,002 Swedish parents between 18 and 65 and carried out by market research company Yougov.

TT/Rebecca Martin (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:20 July 8, 2011 by engagebrain
One in six Swedish kids between 4 and 17...

not a lot of 4, 5 and 6 years olds can swin - they are too young to be accepted into swimming classes.
10:26 July 8, 2011 by Scorch
@engage brain

I went to swimming school when I was 5. And the others there were around that age

And when i was really young I went baby swimming
10:30 July 8, 2011 by Scott McCoy
They can't talk eather,,just ask a kid It,s name,they,ll say,AH,how old are you,AH,what grade you in,AH,where do you live,AH,do you have a dog or cat,AH,,can you swin,,Javla ney,,AH.
10:49 July 8, 2011 by Lostaussie
At least when I went to school, swimming lesson were compulsory from the start of school in summer. That's really a long time ago. :)
10:57 July 8, 2011 by spy
The British Army used to refer to Arabs and Africans as 'non-swimmers'. I wonder how many of these children are from immigrant families?
11:28 July 8, 2011 by helveeta
@spy I was thinking the same thing. Where I am from there are a lot of people of Mexican descent, and I had a lot of friends that were mexican including my ex boyfriend, many of them could not swim. I has nothing to do with the color of their skin, it's simply the fact that most came from larger families and when you have 5 or so children, you don't have time for things like teaching children to swim, you're basically surviving.
11:31 July 8, 2011 by johnny1939
My mother taught how to swim....kicked me off the dock hehe. When I went to school a long time ago we were tested each spring re swimming and life saving and if we did not pass we were given lessons and did not given our grades until we passed . What happened?
11:34 July 8, 2011 by jacquelinee

I agree totally. Where do they keep getting all these statistics from? Dear lord! Can they not find more benficial ways to spend tax money other than finding out who can swim, or what Swedish Dialect is sexier ( my fav, sheesh!), teem drinking, a think tank that comes to the conclusion that if you lower immigrants wages, that will encouage them to work. THINK tanks (not a lot of logical thought there. Maybe instead of some ridiculous survey, apply those tax dollars towrds alcohol information /education, summer swimming lessons. Heck you could even get immigrant people who can swim to teach and pay them a decent wage with the "Think tank" money. Now THAT is job incentive. OH BROTHER!
12:48 July 8, 2011 by Dr. Dillner

I can tell you from looking at the data that you are *right on*. The reporter side-stepped using that part of the data . . . wonder why?
13:09 July 8, 2011 by johnny1939
Sweden lives on statistics but personally I think they are being twisted to the convenience of whatever social agency it will benefit not to think of all the money being wasted for nonsense of all kinds. POX ON THEM!
14:38 July 8, 2011 by BBKING
5 of 6 Ethiopian children can't swim. Just for the record.
17:05 July 8, 2011 by jacquelinee
@bbking (great blues artist bý the way)

Was that another swedish study? Can you show me the statistical survey? I know that Ethiopia is pretty dry. Maybe thats why. So I guess they could take the think tank tax dollars and fund a swimming class where maybe immigrants from Brazil or Spain or Madagascar or Thailand could help The Ethiopians to learn how to swim along with the Swedish kids who can't.
07:07 July 9, 2011 by Britt-Marie7
When I went to elementary school in Sweden, we were required to swim 200 meters. Why can't they just continue with that rule. It makes sense and was not difficult to learn.
15:51 July 9, 2011 by Elvine
Trygg-Hansa is an insurance company so they don't use any taxpayers money for this surveys. Insurance companies are often intrested in different kind of risks, so I don't think it's strange at all that they investigated this. Also, Trygg-Hansa has for a very long time sponsored lifebuoys, at almost any beach in Sweden you could find one with their name on it, so they are connected to swimming in a way.
17:11 July 10, 2011 by jacquelinee
@ Elvine

Thanks for the information. That puts an entirely new slant on things.
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