In the summertime, swimming is the go-to sport for kids. But they aren't always under your watchful eye. Kids might explore other bodies of water, too, such as an apartment complex pool, a creek, or lake where they can be at risk of drowning.
That's why it's important to talk to them about water safety. The YMCA offers these tips.
• Never take your eyes off of your children in the water, even for a moment.
• Appoint a designated water watcher so you know who is supervising children while in the water.
• While supervising, stay alert and avoid distractions like reading or talking on the telephone.
• Instruct children to never run, push, or jump on others in and around the pool.
• Have your child always swim with a buddy.
• Never allow your child to dive into the shallow end of the pool.
• Remember to use appropriate flotation devices. Inflatable floaties are NOT life-saving devices. Do not rely on them. Make sure to use life jackets (that fit properly) in lakes and rivers.
• Tell your child not to swim in any body of water without your permission.
• Teach children to swim at an early age and educate them about water safety.
If there should be an emergency: THROW, DON'T GO!
• Throw a life-saving ring, towel, or T-shirt to the victim. Jumping into the water should be a last resort, especially if you are not a skilled swimmer.
• Drowning victims typically appear calm, not frantic.
WHO IS AT-RISK OF DROWINING? The YMCAs in 11 large urban cities collected data for a USA Swim study conducted by the University of Memphis. The survey found that of those children and teens with little or no swimming ability:
• 68.9% were African American • 57.9% were Hispanic/Latino • 41.8% were Caucasian: • African-American and Latino youth are 3 times more likely to drown compared to their Caucasian counterparts
• Fear of the water. • Lack of parental encouragement. Many of these parents also do not know how to swim. • Limited or no access to swimming facilities. • Financial constraints. •
HOW THE YMCA IS COMBATING THIS TREND • Swim lessons are available at all Y branches year-round (private/semi-private, parent & child, group lessons). • An income-based fee for membership and lessons is available to those who qualify. • In the fall, the Y will be offering a free water safety program for underserved youth.