It happens in seconds. I know that sounds so cliche, but it’s 100% true. Drowning can take just seconds and can easily happen to a child when there are adults nearby providing supervision. I know because it very nearly happened to my family when our middle son was playing in a lake and accidentally stepped beyond where he could touch and suddenly he was slipping silently under the water.
Although our son was yanked from the water in time, there are countless families out there who have not been as fortunate and our experience was enough to make water safety classes a non-negotiable for our kids going forward. Today, The YMCA of Greater Waukesha County is joining us with very important reminders as we enter the season of water play!
The summer is a great time for pools, lakes and hanging outside around water. The YMCA of Greater Waukesha County reminds parents of the importance of water safety for children of all ages. Every day, in the United States, ten people die from drowning, including two under the age of 14.
5 Ways to Keep Your Child Safe in the Water This Summer:
1) Put your cell phone and other devices down. Even strong swimmers can easily be affected by waves, other swimmers, cramps or sudden changes in water depths or currents. It’s important to keep your eyes on your kids, even if they are a strong swimmer.
2) If you have a pool or hot tub at home, install a fence and use self-closing and self-latching gates, use a lockable safety or weight bearing cover and/or install pool and gate alarms. Even a child who is taught about water safety and understands not to swim alone could get curious and go near water’s edge and slip in.
3) Use Coast Guard approved devices that are appropriate for your child’s age and weight. Inflatable toys and floats, noodles and other floatation devices are fun to play on and can certainly provide entertainment, but they are not intended to help children swim, and often times they can block the line of sight for a parent or other adult watching the pool.
4) Teach your child basic water safety skills. The most important of these skills is to teach your child to always ask for permission before entering the water. Whether they are jumping into your arms, getting in on a ladder or ramp, or going from the sand to the water, teach them to always ask for your permission to enter the water. You can start this skill even with children as young as one.
5) Enroll your child in swim lessons or another swim program to help them gain lifesaving and confidence growing skills. Drowning is the second leading cause of death in children, and 88% of drownings have an adult present, but it isn’t enough. Having your child learn basic skills such as floating on their back, swimming on their stomach, how to act in the water when you are tired or struggling are all skills that could save your child’s life.
About the YMCA of Greater Waukesha County’s new swim lesson program:
The YMCA of Greater Waukesha County introduced a new swim lesson curriculum program this spring, along with Ys around the country, that focuses more on swim safety and techniques. The old fish stage names are gone and have been replaced with developmental stages such as swim starters, swim basics, and swim strokes. Children first learn to build comfort and confidence in the water and learn swim readiness. From there, they learn water safety skills and basic swimming competency.
YMCA swim lessons are enrolling now, with new classes beginning June 12th. Join us at any of our 5 locations in Menomonee Falls, Greenfield, Waukesha, Wauwatosa or Mukwonago to make this your best, safest and most fun summer ever!