Kids love to play and swim in the water when summer temps start to climb, and now is a great time to remind our kids and ourselves of some valuable tips to help them have a great time and be safe, too. Drowning is the second leading cause of death for children ages 5 to 14, with children from communities of color at greatest risk. Everyone can learn basic water safety and how to swim at the Y! The Hogan Family YMCA offers swim lessons for ages 6 months to adult. The Y progressive swim program helps reduce the risk of childhood drowning and develops a lifelong love of swimming. Because the Y is a nonprofit community organization with a charitable mission, tuition assistance is available to families who qualify! Call 256-705-9622 or visit ymcahuntsville.org to learn more, or register online.
Before letting your children hit the water this summer, remember these few tips to ensure they have the most enjoyable and safest experience possible.
- Never swim alone. Teach your children that they should only swim in locations where a lifeguard is on duty.
- Supervise your children whenever they’re in water. Whether it’s bath time or taking a dip in a pool or lake, make sure your children are within arm’s reach at all times.
- 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. Other severe physical side-effects are also possible.
- Wear a Life Jacket: Inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
- Reach, Throw, Don’t Go! 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 swim lessons. Just like teaching your children to look both ways before they cross the street, participating in formal water safety lessons teaches them an important life skill. The Hogan Family YMCA has swim lessons for ages 6 months and up!