Children can learn basic swimming skills in the Sussex County YMCA’s free Safety Around Water Week over the winter school break.

Designed to prevent drowning — the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 4 and second-leading cause of death for children ages 5 to 14 —Safety Around Water Week teaches self-rescue skills and confidence around water. Starting Tuesday, Dec. 26, certified YMCA swim instructors will run three 30-minute sessions a day for different age groups. Parents are also welcome to take part.

“Drowning is preventable when children and adults understand essential water safety skills,” Sussex County YMCA Aquatics Director Sarah Navarro said. “Becoming comfortable around water also opens them to the joy of swimming, a sport that can be enjoyed at every stage of life.”

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Over five days, children will do exercises in the pool to adjust to the water and receive instruction in two skill sets to use if they unexpectedly find themselves in water: “Jump, Push, Turn, Grab” and “Swim, Float, Swim.” They’ll learn safety topics, such as pool rules, and take part in games that encourage comfort and activity around water. 

For more information about Safety Around Water Week and to register, go to http://www.metroymcas.org/sussex-county-ymca/safety-around-water-week/ or call 973-209-9622.

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ABOUT THE Y

Established in 1885, the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges invests in its diverse communities to promote wellness, safety and quality of life for children, adults and seniors. Its six branches in East Orange, Livingston, Maplewood, Hardyston, Stillwater and Wayne are committed to nurturing the potential of kids, promoting healthy living and fostering a sense of social responsibility through an array of programs. Some 30,000 people belong to the Metro Y, which awards more than $2.8 million annually in direct and indirect financial assistance.