As the nation’s largest operator of swimming pools, the Y gives more than 1 million children a year the skills they need to be safe around water. Drowning is a serious threat to the health and well-being of people across the U.S., particularly children and minorities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the second leading cause of death for children ages 4 to 14, and the rate of drowning for African-American children is nearly three times the rate for white children.
The Y is here to help. Through the recently launched Safety Around Water program, the Y aims to give children of all ages and backgrounds the opportunity to develop the invaluable water safety skills that can keep them safe in and around water. These skills not only save lives, but they also help children build confidence in their abilities.
In addition, caregivers can ensure everyone stays safe around the water with these tips:
Never leave children unattended, and stay vigilant when around any body of water.
Designate a “Water Watcher” to supervise children around water. This person should not read, use a cellphone or be otherwise distracted.
Inexperienced and non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket around water.
Children should stay away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments.
Children and adults should not engage in breath-holding activities.
The Valparaiso Family YMCA has a variety of classes for all ages, group lessons and private swim lessons, to help all children learn to swim and gain self-confidence.
To learn more about the Y’s efforts to help all children stay safe around water go to www.valpoymca.org