YMCAs Urge Swim Safety
Tips to keep everyone safe in the water this summer
Swimming is among the most enjoyable and beneficial physical activities in a kid’s life but also a very dangerous activity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every day, about 10 people die from unintentional drowning. Of these, two will be children aged 14 or younger. Drowning is the sixth leading cause of unintentional injury death for people of all ages, and the second leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 14 years. For every child who dies from drowning, another four received emergency department care for nonfatal submission injuries. Nonfatal drownings can cause brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities including memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functions.
Eighty percent of the drowning deaths occur between May and September. The end of the school year is here and families are preparing for the seasonal water related activities. YMCAs urge swim safety for children and encourage families to be vigilant as they head toward the water.
- In the time it takes to cross a room or pool deck for a towel — 10 seconds — a child can be submerged.
- In the time it takes to answer a phone — 2 minutes — a child can lose consciousness.
- In the time it takes to answer the door — 4 to 6 minutes — a child submerged can sustain permanent brain damage.
Children drown silently and quickly — in a matter of seconds. Adults present when a child drowns are often distracted in some way including talking on the phone, chatting with other adults.
The important message is to never leave a child alone near a pool, spa, bathtub, toilet, bucket or any standing water in which a child’s nose or mouth may be submerged. One inch of water that cover’s a child’s mouth and nose can cause drowning. A drowning can happen anywhere.
The YMCA has outlined several important precautionary measures that should be taken to ensure children’s safety around water. Additional information is available at ymcahouston.org.
- Create layers of protection between the water and your children. Proper fencing and gates around pools, sturdy pool coverings, install alarms on doors and windows that lead to the pool and have rescue equipment mounted by the pool.
- Proper parental or adult supervision at all times. Provide “reach supervision” — always be within arm’s reach of a child who isn’t an experienced swimmer.
- When there are several adults present and children are swimming, designate an “on-duty” adult to ensure supervision at all times.
- Stress the importance of never swimming alone.
- Swim safety lessons for all children who will be exposed to water.
- Learn to swim. If you get tired, knowing that you can turn over and float on your back to catch a breath. It may mean the difference between life and death.
- Let someone know when you are going to swim.
- Never swim in a pool that you cannot see the bottom.
- Posting and enforcement of pool rules.
- Be ready for an emergency by having the proper water rescue devices, a first-aid preparedness kit, and be able to perform CPR. Never try to go into the water to save someone. Use something that you can reach the victim with like a noodle, pool buoy or pole.
- Have phone access near the water area.
The YMCA has been teaching children and adults to swim for more than 100 years. The Y invented group swim lessons. Learning to Swim at the YMCA is more than just stroke development, techniques and skills. Classes include personal safety, personal growth, water sports and games, and rescue techniques as well as a positive experience.
The South Montgomery County YMCAs offers swim lessons throughout the summer and all year long. The Summer Swim Program includes Parent/Child classes for ages 6-36 months, Pre-School classes for .ages 3-5 years, and Youth classes for children ages 6 years and older. The YMCA also has classes available for adults.
In addition to swim lessons, the Y also offers stroke booster class, youth swim league, youth swim team, masters swim, lifeguard training and water aerobics classes.
For more information, call the South Montgomery County YMCAs in The Woodlands at 281-367-9622 or visit ymcahouston.org/south-montgomery-county.