Keep Your Little Ones Safe Around Water This Summer

Two children die every day because of drowning, according to a recent national research study conducted by the USA Swimming Foundation and the University of Memphis. Drowning can happen nearly anywhere with standing water, and it’s important that parents or caregivers have the tools they need to keep children safe and confident in and around water.

Drowning is the leading cause of death in young children, and children from non-swimming households are eight times more likely to be at risk of drowning than children from homes where parents can swim, the study shows.

The problem is particularly severe among minority communities. Seventy percent of African American and 60 percent of Hispanic children cannot swim, compared to 40 percent of Caucasian children.

Drowning is preventable. Taking swim lessons and water safety classes can reduce the risk of drowning by up to 88%.

The YMCA of Metro Atlanta is committed to reducing water-related injuries, particularly in communities where children are most at risk.

Throughout the year, the Y offers swim lessons and water safety classes and works to further bridge cultural and access gaps that can prevent some children from learning important water safety skills. We are proud to partner with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Delta Air Lines and others to provide access to swim lessons and safety around water training to children across the metro Atlanta area, regardless of background.

If children know how to stay safe in and around water, swimming can be a lifelong source of fun and exercise. Instead of keeping your children away from water, help them learn fundamental water safety skills by enrolling them for swim lessons at your local Y. These classes can provide them a new, exciting way to keep active and build confidence in and around water.

This National Water Safety Month, in partnership with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the Y offers the following water safety tips:

1. Arm’s reach. Kids under age 6 should stay within arm’s reach when around water — even in the bathtub.

2. Don’t let your guard down. Drowning can happen quickly, silently and in as little as one inch of water.

3. Swim lessons are a good idea but not a replacement for your arms and eyes.

4. Eye’s reach. Kids over 6 who can swim two laps of the pool without stopping should stay within eye’s reach.

5. Put away phones and other distractions. Don’t rely on a lifeguard to watch your child.

6. Even strong swimmers are at risk for drowning. Talk to your teen about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and risk-taking behaviors in the water.

For more water safety tips, check out the following resources:

CHOA on How to Keep Children of All Ages Safe Around Water

American Academy of Pediatrics Guidelines on Childhood Water Safety

CDC on Healthy and Safe Swimming

By Erica K. Faulkner
Director of Content and Social Media