The Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA wants to ensure that water safety is top of mind as we jump into summer. With temperatures rising, kids want to cool off, whether that’s in home pools, ponds, lakes, rivers, streams, or oceans. And that means the risk of drowning is as prevalent as ever. The YMCA encourages parents and caregivers to reinforce the importance of water safety skills with the whole family.
“As ‘America’s Swim Instructor,’ the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA annually teaches more than 500 youth valuable water safety and swimming skills,” said Ellen Daudelin, the Y’s aquatics director. “Now more than ever, it’s important to remind parents and caregivers that water safety needs to be top-of-mind as families start to return to their favorite summertime activities.”
Following are five tips from the Y to help ensure a safe and enjoyable swimming experience for all this summer and beyond.
Make sure children know to 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 going in or near the water.
Never swim alone or without a water watcher. When children are swimming, make sure they are actively supervised at all times. Teach your children that they should only swim in locations where a lifeguard is on duty, or where a responsible adult agrees to watch the children in the water without distractions.
Supervise your children whenever they’re in or near water. Whether it’s bath time or taking a dip in a pool or waterfront, make sure your children are within arm’s reach at all times.
Don’t engage in breath holding activities. Children should not hold their breath for a prolonged amount of 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 who is struggling in deep water. If a 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 a child is a great swimmer, a panicked person will overpower them, pulling the rescuer underwater. The Y’s Safety Around Water program teaches 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 children can help their friend without compromising their own safety.
For more water safety tips and activities, visit fspymca.org/water-safety.
The Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA is dedicated to improving the quality of life of the individuals, families and communities it serves through programs and services that build wholeness of spirit, mind and body. The YMCA is a not-for-profit organization founded on Christian principles, serving people of all ages, races, faith, cultures and socio-economic conditions.
For information call the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA at 908-889-8880 or visit https://fspymca.org. Financial assistance is available for those who qualify.