May is National Water Safety month and the Westfield Area YMCA encourages children and parents within the community to keep safety top of mind. In the Y’s swim programs, participants enhance or learn new techniques, meet new friends and develop confidence, while also learning safety skills that can save lives. To help assist in ensuring your family is safe in the water, the Y is hosting a free water safety event providing helpful water safety tips on Saturday, May 20from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Main Y Facility, 220 Clark Street in Westfield.

Drowning is the second leading cause of death for children ages 5-14. With National Water Safety Month in May and summer around the corner, it’s a great time for parents to remember the importance of ensuring their children are equipped with essential water safety skills. The Westfield Area YMCA offers swim lessons and water safety events to reduce the risk of drowning and help children develop a lifelong love of swimming.

Before letting your children hit the water this summer, remember these few water safety tips to ensure it’s an enjoyable and safe experience.

  1. Never swim alone. Teach your children that they should only swim in locations where a lifeguard is on duty.
  2. Supervise your children whenever they’re in water. Whether it’s bath time or taking a dip in a pool or lake, make sure your children are within arm’s reach of you at all time.
  3. Don’t engage in breath holding activities. 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.
  4. Wear a Life Jacket: Inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket. 
  5. 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 swim lessons teaches them an important life skill. The Westfield Area YMCA teaches children how to swim and fundamental water safety skills.

Learning how to swim also has multiple benefits beyond the ability to enjoy water safely. It helps children strive for physical achievement, promotes healthy living and builds their confidence. To learn more, please contact Rob Faggiano, Westfield Area YMCA Aquatics Director at 908-301-9622 x276 or Sharon London, Westfield Area YMCA Assistant Aquatics Director, at 908-301-9622 x253.