LIVINGSTON, NJ — As an organization dedicated to building safe and healthy communities, the West Essex YMCA believes that all children deserve the opportunity to learn to swim. From June 25 to 29, the Y is offering its Safety Around Water program, which includes five free swim lessons, to teach children water safety and basic swimming skills.
According to Scott Weber, aquatic director at the West Essex Y in Livingston, two children die every day as a result of drowning. Drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 4 and the second leading cause of death for children ages 5 to 14.
“The West Essex YMCA has dedicated itself to continue this free program that helps keep children safe in and around water,” said Weber. “Education, awareness, and practice in the water can help make a positive impact on the totally preventable problem of childhood drowning.”
Research shows that participation in formal water safety and swim lessons can reduce the risk of drowning among children and adults, he said. It also promotes a lifelong enjoyment of swimming, encourages healthy living, and can help prevent chronic diseases.
“Safety Around Water is a great starting point to not only get kids comfortable in the water, but also teach their parents the importance of developing water safety skills,” said Weber. “During the five-day program, children will learn how to respond if they find themselves in unexpected water situations—from how to reach the water’s surface if they submerge—to safely reaching a pool’s edge or exiting any body of water.
“Education, awareness, and practice in the water can help make a positive impact on the totally preventable problem of childhood drowning.”
Skills sequences being taught are as follows:
Swim, float, swim
In this skill sequence, children swim a short distance on their front, turn to their back to float, then turn to their front to continue swimming. Rolling onto their back periodically allows them to rest and breathe. The sequence helps children stay afloat until someone arrives to help them or they are able to get to safety using the combined skills.
Jump, push, turn, grab
In this skill sequence, a child jumps into the water, pushes off the bottom, turns around to face the wall, grabs the wall, and safely exits the pool. The sequence simulates the experience children have if they are submerged in water unexpectedly. After learning the sequence, children have the skills to get back to the side of the pool or to safety.
Adults are welcome, as it is equally as important for parents to learn basic swimming skills to help keep their children safe around water.
For more information or to register, click HERE or contact Weber at 973-992-7500 ext. 108.