Region – With area drownings at the top of resident concerns throughout the summer, the YMCA’s continued commitment to aquatic safety has sparked a new comprehensive “Safety Around Water Program” at all YMCA branches in central and northern Worcester County. This program teaches children of all ages and from all backgrounds that water should be fun, not feared as long as you know how to stay safe in and around water.
In Safety Around Water, children learn what to do if they find themselves in the water unexpectedly. Children learn fundamental water safety skills that include what to look for in a safe place to swim and how to swim a short distance on their front, roll over onto their back to rest, and then roll on their front to continue swimming to safety.
Before letting your children hit the water this summer, remember these few tips to ensure it’s an enjoyable and safe experience.
- 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 at all times.
- 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’s Safety Around Water program 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, participating in formal water safety lessons teaches them an important life skill.
For more information visit www.ymcaofcm.org