Summer is in full swing and that means children are spending more time swimming at the beach, in backyard pools, lakes and at water parks. The Community YMCA encourages parents and caregivers to take an active role in their children’s water safety to prevent accidental drowning, the second leading cause of death for children ages 5 to 14.
“Teaching children how to swim and to be safe around water reduces the risk of drowning,” said Laurie Goganzer, President and CEO of The Community YMCA.
The nation’s leader in swim instruction, the Y teaches more than a million children across the country water safety and swimming skills every year. Locally, The Community YMCA offers community water safety programs in addition to swim lessons for children as young as six months at two locations – the Family Health & Wellness Center in Red Bank and the Lass Aquatics Center at Camp Zehnder in Wall Township.
“Keeping children safe in and around water is one of our greatest priorities,” Goganzer said, noting that the Y offers a free week long swim program annually to all third graders in Red Bank that is supported by donations to the nonprofit organization. The Y also invites the community to learn basic water safety skills for a nominal fee during its Safety Around Water program, which takes place every June.
Before letting your children jump into the water this summer, remember these tips to ensure it’s an enjoyable and safe experience.
- Buddy Up – Never allow children to swim alone. Teach them to use the buddy system even at a public pool, lake or beach with a lifeguard on duty.
- Lifeguards on Duty - Only allow your children to swim in designated areas where there is a lifeguard on duty.
- Adult Supervision - Adults should constantly and actively watch children in and around water even when lifeguards are present. Be sure your children are within arm’s reach of you at all times.
- Wear a Life Jacket - Inexperienced and non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket when in and around water.
- No Breath Holding - Children shouldn’t hold their breath for a prolonged amount of time while swimming, as this can cause drowning and has several other severe physical side-effects.
- Learn to Swim - Enroll your children in water safety or swim lessons. Just like teaching your children to look both ways before they cross the street, having them participate in formal water safety lessons teaches them an important life skill.
About The Community YMCA
The Y is a leading nonprofit charity that strengthens communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The Community YMCA serves more than 20,000 residents in greater Monmouth County, NJ through programs such as: preschool, before and after school care, summer day camp, teen leadership, arts enrichment, health and wellness and personal and family counseling. In 2017, the Y provided $871,250 in financial assistance and program subsidies to strengthen 1,746 children and families in Monmouth County. For more information, visit TheCommunityYMCA.org.