School’s out, and with so many families heading to the beaches and swimming pools, parents may assume that because their child likes the water, they are safe being around it.
Teaching children to how to be safe around water is a necessity, because drowning can happen nearly anywhere there is standing water. The YMCA introduced the concept of swim lessons in 1909. Today, the Y teaches more than a million children invaluable water safety and swim skills. At the Hogan Family YMCA in Madison, more than 700 Madison City Schools third-graders receive water safety education at no cost through the SPLASH program each year. The YMCA is able to offer tuition assistance for swim lessons any time of year.
“All children, regardless of background, skills or age, should have access to swim lessons,” said Rachel Marshall, Association Aquatics Director at Heart of the Valley YMCA. “It’s a rite of passage that can lead to a love of swimming that lasts a lifetime, while increasing confidence, physical activity and well-being.”
As part of National Water Safety Month in May, the Heart of the Valley YMCA encourages parents and caregivers to take an active role in their child’s safety. Practice these tips when in and around the water:
• Only swim when and where there is a lifeguard on duty, and 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.
For more information about swim lessons and water safety education, visit http://ymcahuntsville.org/SWIM.