May is National Water Safety Month and although our facilities are currently closed, the Y is still focused on helping children develop a lifelong love for swimming, while learning vital water safety skills. Here are some important tips to keep your family safe around water.
- Never swim alone. Teach your children that they should only swim in locations where a lifeguard is on duty.
- 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.
- 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.
- Wear a life jacket. Inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
- Don’t jump in the water to save a friend who is struggling in deep water. If a child finds their friend in deep water unexpectedly, their natural reaction may be to jump in the water to try to save them. Even if a child is a great swimmer, a panicked person will overpower them, pulling them underwater with them. The Y teaches the “reach, throw, don’t go” concept of using a long object to reach for them and pull them to safety. By using this technique, children can help their friend without compromising their own safety.
- 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. When Y facilities reopen, families will have the opportunity to enroll their children in swim lesson programs which will teach them fundamental water safety skills if they find themselves in water unexpectedly.