The upcoming Memorial Day weekend is traditionally the kick-off to the summer swim season. The YMCA of Greater Cincinnati encourages children and their families to explore the many benefits of swimming in pools, lakes and at beaches, while also keeping safety top of mind. The world is 71 percent water; kids are 100 percent curious. Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional deaths among young children and the second leading cause of death of children between the ages of 5 and 14. However, drowning is preventable.
“Learning to swim and learning water safety is important for safety reasons, but also is a great way to keep active and healthy,” said YMCA President and CEO Jorge Perez. This year, the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati is pledging to teach water safety to 6,000 children in Y summer day camps and through swim lessons across the area. Scholarships are available. “There are so many options for parents, but the best place to start is by learning basic safety skills that help get kids familiar with the water,” added Perez. In Y swim programs, participants can learn life-saving skills, enjoy the achievement of learning to swim, make new friends and develop confidence.
The Y is encouraging parents to take an active role in fostering a relationship between their children and swimming—beginning with water safety. Here are safety tips to practice when in and around the water:
- Only swim when and where there is a lifeguard on duty; never swim alone
- Adults should constantly and actively watch their children
- Inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket
- Parents or guardians of young children should be within an arm’s reach
- Children and adults should not engage in breath holding activities
Community members can help the Y “waterproof” kids by donating goggles, a new child’s swimsuit or a beach towel to any of the 13 YMCA of Greater Cincinnati locations. Kids can’t learn to swim if they don’t have the equipment to get in the water.