Little swimmers from infants to teenagers have been encouraged to wear their pyjamas in the pool and leave the goggles at home this week (March 21-27) to prepare them for a typical drowning scenario.
Port Macquarie Olympic Pool has incorporated the Pyjama Safety Week program into their lessons to teach kids how it feels to be fully clothed in the water.
Sally Campbell's son Ashton has taken part in the program to learn how to float and tread water fully clothed.
"I think it's important for kids to get used to swimming in their clothes because if they are to fall in the water, they most likely will be wearing clothes," she said.
"It's a great idea for the kids, it teaches them real life situations, and it gets them prepared for different scenarios that they might find themselves in."
"I think it also gets them prepared for the heaviness of clothes in water, so they don't panic with the extra weight if they do fall in."
The week-long event will also teach survival sequences, strokes and basic rescue techniques to reduce panic and prepare students with the skills should they experience a potential life threatening situation.
Port Macquarie Olympic Pool swim manager, Jodie Buttsworth, said it is important that families and communities are reminded of the importance of being safe and vigilant around water.
The message comes after the Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report 2021 found that drownings went up by 20 per cent in 2021.
Ms Buttsworh said the program will teach kids the skills to cope with possible real life scenarios.
"It's just a little bit of a fun spin on learning what it feels like to fall in the water with your clothes on," she said.
"It is a lot different to fall in the water while fully clothed, and that's when the likelihood of drowning is going to happen, it's not usually when they're in their swimmers.
"It's quite important to be prepared in winter especially because falling in the water can be quite heavy for them if they're in their tracksuit pants and jumper, and it can be quite draining for them to tread water with the added weight.
"Teaching kids how to float and how to get back to the edge while fully clothed is a vital learning curve for them."
Anthony Awad said the lessons have already helped his son Eli in the water.
"It's great that they're teaching him how to swim with clothes on," he said.
"It's definitely helped him so far, he's getting a lot better at swimming with the added weight.
"It's definitely worth it, it taught him how to hold himself above water fully clothed, and it also prepared him for the extra weight of the clothes."
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