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Somerset County YMCA - HomeFor Youth Development; For Healthly Living; For Social Responsibility

Helping You Live Better

How the Y Keeps Your Kids Safe in the Water

by Valerie Deraville, Aquatics Director, Bridgewater YMCA | Somerville YMCA | May 25, 2017

Summer is the time of year when water activities and swimming are on everyone’s list of things to do. May is also Water Safety Month and we’d like to share some valuable information with you before you make those plans – it will help keep your kids safe while you are building fond memories with family and friends.

In all you do throughout the year, it is important to always make water safety a priority. The world is 71% water after all and your kids are curious. Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death among children ages 1 to 3, the second-leading cause among kids under 15, and the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for people of all ages. Despite these alarming figures, only 34 percent of parents know that water is one of the top life-threatening dangers for kids, according to a survey by Safe Kids Worldwide, a child-safety advocacy group. Young children are most vulnerable in pools while older children and teens face dangers in lakes and at the beach.

What can you do? The best way to guarantee a fun – and most importantly, a safe experience – is to ensure that you and your family are aware of all of the risks associated with water activities and submersion.

As aquatic professionals, strong risk management and safety practice are key to protecting our members and community. You will find that at all Somerset County YMCA locations, we conduct in-services to ensure our staff can quickly identify a swimmer in distress and can respond to the emergency accordingly. We also require that all non-swimmers or those under the age of 7, swim with an adult within arm’s reach. Whether your child is swimming in 3 inches of water or 3 feet, they must always be supervised. Our pool rules should be abided by at all hours of operation – they are in place to minimize risks that can result in a drowning.


Water Safety Tipswater_safety_infographic

Here are some vital tips to make sure you and your family always keep in mind.

  • Swim only when supervised
    Even the strongest swimmer can drown. It is important to always supervise your children when you are in and around the water, even when there is a lifeguard present. Never leave a child to supervise another child, even if that child can swim.

  • Buddy system
    Always swim with a buddy. Even when supervised by a lifeguard or swimming in a public pool, always have another person with you.

  • Enroll in swimming lessons
    Enroll yourself, your children, and your spouse in swimming lessons. Formal lessons do protect children from drowning. At the Y, we begin with life-saving skills involving safety around water and progress to teaching your child the mechanics of how to swim. The Y is the leading organization in teaching swim lessons and invented the concept of the group swim lesson more than 100 years ago!

  • Learn Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
    The American Heart Association states that CPR performed in the first few minutes, can double or triple a person’s chance of survival.

  • No breath-holding
    Underwater breath-holding is very dangerous and can cause blackouts that lead to drowning. Teaching your children that breath-holding contests should not be done is imperative.

  • Use lifejackets
    While swimming or boating, wear U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets. Do not, however, rely solely on the life jackets – again, all children must be supervised and within arm’s reach from an adult.

Swim Lessons & School

Swimming is a vital skill that makes life safer and more fun. Over the years at the Y, we have taught thousands of children and adolescents to swim, which has helped to minimize the risk of drowning in our community. YMCA swim lessons build self-esteem, confidence and fitness. 

This summer, sign your children up for a variety of programs based on their swim ability. If you are unsure of your child’s level, you can drop by for a free swim evaluation at any of our locations. Visit to learn more and register. (Summer registration opens June 12, 2017.)

Somerset County YMCA would like to wish you all a fun and WATER SAFE summer!

Please feel free to contact our Aquatic Directors for any questions or additional information on swim programs.

Bridgewater YMCA: Contact Christina Huang at 908 526 0688 x311 or by email.

Hillsborough YMCA: Contact Lisa Slover at 908 369 0490 x717 or by email.

Somerset Hills YMCA: Contact Duke Munzer at 908 766 7898 x518 or email.

Somerville YMCA :Contact Valerie Deraville at 908 526 0688 x311 or by email.
  • Swim
  • Kids & Families
  • Child Safety
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