Swimming is a fun way to spend time together as a family. There's nothing like spending a day at the beach or pool splashing around in the water and enjoying being together.
Unfortunately, many people don't realize how dangerous swimming can be without careful preparation. In the United States, drowning remains the number one unintentional cause of death for children ages 1 to 4, and the second-leading cause among children ages 5 to 14. With proper preparations and precautions we can lower this statistic.
With May being Water Safety Month, the YMCA would like to share some tips for staying safe this summer!
- Pool Rules Always understand and review your facilities' pool rules. These are posted for good reason and are there to keep patrons safe. Review with your child why there are rules and what could happen if we don’t follow them. Each facility is different, therefore always read and review the rules at each place you visit.
- Never Swim Alone Swimming should only happen when a lifeguard is on duty. Lifeguards don't just watch the people in the pool, lake or ocean. Their job is also to watch the water and let swimmers know of any safety concerns. In addition to swimming with a lifeguard nearby, a good rule of thumb is to use the buddy system while swimming. Teach your child to always swim with a friend or sibling so they can look out for one another if their parents aren't physically in the pool with them. It’s more fun to swim with a friend anyway!
- Bad Weather and Water Conditions When heading out to the beach or an outside pool, it's wise to take a look at the weather for the day. Being aware of any upcoming storms helps keep your family safe. Thunder and Lighting aren’t a good mix with water, therefore at the sound or sight of it, please make your way away from the pool area and to a safe designated area. Rule of thumb is to stay away for 30 minutes from each point of thunder or lighting.
- Swim in Designated Areas Always swim where it is allowed. At the beach swim between the lifeguard stands and/or where it is roped off to swim. Never attempt to go deeper than you’re capable of. Following lifeguard/ facility guidelines keeps you in safe swimming areas.
No Breath Holding Game While swimming, children shouldn’t hold their breath for a long time, as this can cause drowning and has several other severe risks. Make sure children understand how holding their breath underwater, and other similar games, can be dangerous. If a swimmer holds their breath too long or hyperventilates before going underwater, they are at a higher risk of passing out underwater. Children who swim competitively should learn proper breathing techniques to avoid problems during practices or meets.
The YMCAs have programs in aquatics, ranging from learning how to swim to water safety courses such as Lifeguard, CPR and First Aid. The YMCA’s learn to swim programs teaches members how to be efficient and safe around the water. We help build confidence and strive for physical achievement. We believe in providing this to our community as part of our mission to promote healthy living, youth development and social responsibility.