YMCA of Delaware Urges the First State to Focus on Water Safety

Staff WriterBusiness, RSS-Business

The YMCA of Delaware wants to ensure that water safety remains a priority in our communities as Delawareans get set to jump into summer. Temperatures are rising, and kids are excited to cool off in pools, ponds, lakes, rivers, streams, and oceans. This May, for National Water Safety Month, the YMCA of Delaware encourages parents and caregivers to reinforce the importance of water safety skills with the whole family.

“With more than 381 miles of coastal community in Delaware, it is vital that we teach swimming and water safety skills to children across the state,” said Carolan Cross, YMCA of Delaware Community Vice President. “Drowning is one of the leading preventable causes of death for children under 14 years old and the leading cause for children ages 1 – 4. Children are naturally curious and are often drawn to water. This time of year especially, it is so important that parents and caregivers have conversations with their children about how to stay safe.”

As part of National Water Safety Month, the YMCA of Delaware encourages parents to play an active role in promoting water safety. Here are six tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable swimming experience for all.

• Ensure children always ask permission before going in or near the water. Teaching your children to be water smart is the first step in water safety – be sure they understand the importance of asking permission before entering or going near the water.

• Never swim alone or without a water watcher. When children are swimming, make sure they are always actively supervised. Teach your children that they should only swim in locations where a lifeguard is on duty or where a responsible adult agrees to watch them in the water without distractions.

• Supervise your children whenever they’re in or near water. Whether it’s bath time or a dip in a pool or waterfront, ensure your children are always within arm’s reach.

• Don’t engage in breath-holding activities. Both adults and children should not hold their breath for a prolonged time while swimming, as this can be dangerous.

• Wear a life jacket. Inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.

• Don’t jump in the water to save a friend struggling in deep water. If an adult or child finds their friend in deep water unexpectedly, their natural reaction may be to jump in the water to try to save them. Even if they are a great swimmer, a panicked person will overpower them, pulling the rescuer underwater. Instead, practice the “reach, throw, don’t go” concept of using a long object to reach for them and pull them to safety. By using this technique, an adult or child can help their friend without compromising their own safety.

The YMCA of Delaware offers a variety of aquatics programs for children and teens across the state, including swim lessons, Swimming With Autism (S.W.A.M.), Water Wise, and Swim Teams. Each year, the YMCA awards millions of dollars of financial assistance to ensure that everyone in the community has equal access to programs and offerings, regardless of their financial situation. For a contribution of as little as $50, you can help provide a swimming lesson to a child in your community.

More information is available about YMCA of Delaware swim programs on our website.

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