Do you know how to swim? More importantly, does your child or children know how to swim or how to keep safe around water? Did you know that May is the National Water Safety Month?
Join the YMCA in Celebrating the Month of May as National Water Safety Month
With Memorial Day weekend almost here, the unofficial start of summer is right around the corner. As kids and families flock to public and residential pools, lakes and beaches, it is important to remember that drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years old, and sadly African American children ages 5 to 14 are three times more likely to drown than their white peers.
That’s why during the month of May, the YMCA of the USA recognizes National Water Safety Month and has pledged to provide more than 18,000 scholarships for free swim lessons to children from underserved communities—with an emphasis on reaching at-risk African American and Hispanic/Latino children—as a part of its Safety Around Water program.
DID YOU KNOW?
- 3 kids die every day from drowning
- Drowning is the second-leading cause of deaths for kids ages 5-14
- 70% of African American and 60% of Hispanic children cannot swim, compared to just 40% of Caucasian children
- 88% of kids who drown do so under adult supervision
- 60% of kids who drown are within 10 feet of safety
- Participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% among children one to four years old
- More than 1 million kids take swim lessons at the Y every year
Through an article Safety Around Water on the YMCA’s website, I learned that 71% of the world is water and that children are 100% curious. Consequently, the YMCA is continuing, for the second year, the Safety Around Water program to ensure children learn essential water safety skills.
The Safety Around Water program teaches a sequence set of skills over eight lessons of 40 minutes each, thus reducing the risk of drowning. The aforementioned article emphasis what a typical session might include:
- 1) Exercises to help kids adjust to being in the water
- 2) Instruction in “Jump, Push, Turn, Grab” and “Swim, Float, Swim”
- 3) Specific safety topics like what to do if you see someone in the water who needs help, and
- 4) Fun activities that reinforce these skills
It is possible for drowning to occur even in standing water. Therefore, it is a necessity that both you and your child learn these valuable skills, so that they are comfortable around water. On a personal note, my mother could never learn to swim due to her health problems. Consequently, she insisted that my siblings and I take water safety/swimming lessons early in life. I, in turn, enrolled my children in these classes, as well, for their safety.
Families interested in learning more about the Safety Around Water program, as well as how to enroll their child in a swimming/water safety class, and to obtain information on how to apply for a scholarship, should visit www.ymca.net/watersafety.
Through just a few short lessons, you child can learn the skills necessary to allow them to be comfortable around water, gain a respect for water, and most importantly, avoid drowning. Inquire about this program through your local YMCA now before you experience a water accident this summer.