Safety Around Water

Featured, In The News
May 9, 2023

71% of the world is water, children are 100% curious

May is Water Safety Month and May 15 is International Water Safety Day. It is a day to spread drowning awareness and water safety education by any means possible. Lack of water safety education has allowed accidental drownings worldwide to continue. According to the CDC, Idaho has one of the highest accidental drowning rates in the country. 

Water safety tips all families should know:

Just like caregivers teach kids to look both ways before crossing the street, it’s essential to teach children how to be safe around water. When guardians use these same practices, they become great role models for children. There are five behaviors families can practice when they are in and around water:

  1. Don’t swim alone. This is why the Y has lifeguards on duty. They’re trained to monitor active swimmers and know how to react quickly when something happens. Children especially should always be supervised when they’re in the water.
  2. Don’t play breath-holding games. While they seem fun, holding breath underwater can cause drowning and has several other risks, even passing out underwater.
  3. Don’t jump in the water to save a friend.While this might be our first instinct, the Y recommends “reach, throw, don’t go.” This means you can help your friend without putting yourself at risk.
  4. Enter the water feet first. Diving head-first in shallow water—or when you don’t know what you’re doing—can be dangerous. Know how to get in and out of a pool, and come prepared with life vests.
  5. Stay within designated swim areasRegardless of if you’re in a pool, ocean, or lake, designated areas are there for a reason. Teach children to stay within ropes, away from pool drains, and to be aware of signage.

There are three general categories of Y Swim Lessons:

  1. Swim Starters helps children ages six months to three years develop swim readiness skills through fun experiences that build confidence. In addition, parents learn how to supervise children in the water, prevent accidents and plan for emergencies.
  2. Swim Basics enables students of all ages to gain basic water safety and swimming skills. Swimmers become comfortable and confident in the water through practicing safe water habits, engaging in underwater exploration and learning how to swim to safety if they fall into a body of water.
  3. Swim Strokes introduces and refines stroke technique in older swimmers (school-age, teens and adults). Having mastered the fundamentals, students learn additional water safety skills and build stroke technique, developing skills that can help prevent chronic disease, increase overall well-being and foster a lifetime of physical activity.

Learn more about the Treasure Valley Family YMCA Aquatics programs, swim lessons and AquAbility.