Two kids die from drowning every day. Drowning is the leading cause of death in children 1 to 4 years old, and the second leading cause of death in children 5 to 14 years old. Most drowning deaths are preventable, which is why teaching your child how to swim through swimming lessons is essential. The YMCA offers swimming lessons for all ages and abilities from infants to adults. Below are some additional water safety tips to follow.
Never go swimming alone. Teach your children that they should only go swimming in locations where a lifeguard is on duty.
Supervise your children whenever they’re in or near water. Whether it is bath time or taking a dip in a pool or lake, make sure your children are within reach of you at all time.
Don’t engage in breath holding activities. Children shouldn’t hold their breath for a prolonged amount of time while swimming, as this can cause drowning and has several other severe physical side-effects.
Wear a Life Jacket. Inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
Don’t jump in the water to save a friend who is struggling in deep water. If a child finds their friend in deep water unexpectedly, their natural reaction may be to jump in the water to try to save them. Even if a child is a great swimmer, a panicked person will overpower them, pulling them underwater with them. The Y’s Safety Around Water program teaches the “reach, throw, don’t go” concept of using a long object to reach for them and pull them to safety. By using this technique, children can help their friend without compromising their own safety.
Enroll your children in water safety or swimming lessons. Just like teaching your children to look both ways before they cross the street, having them participate in formal water safety or swimming lessons teaches them an important life skill - how to swim.
Learn more about programs offered by the Y to ensure your family always stays safe around water.