Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Swimming Lessons Save Lives

Summer Time!  We all love the thought of those lazy days of summer and the time that will be spent swimming at our local parks, beaches, and in back yard pools.   This conjures up such a romantic, timeless vision of summer fun.    Swimming is a staple of the summer experience yet for many children it ends in tragedy.  
A study conducted by the University of Memphis in 2010 reports that 70% of African American Children and 58% of Hispanic Children are at risk of drowning due to low or no swimming ability.  Unintentional drowning is the second leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 14.  This alarming statistic can be reversed by teaching children the basic skills they need to save their life when in and around water.
Children need to know how to save their lives around water.   This summer the YMCA will teach hundreds of children how to swim at our summer camps and through our swim lesson programs.  Thanks to generous donations received through our Community Support Campaign many of these children will be eligible for our open doors financial assistance program.  Teaching children to swim is life saving work and it is important that we reach as many children as we can.  
This winter the YMCA worked with the Wesleyan After School Program at Traverse Square to provide swim lessons to 20 children.   Funding for this initiative came from a Middletown Health Department grant.   The Y also provided swim instruction to our preschool students enrolled in the YMCA Phelps Ingersoll Center for Children.  In an effort to reach additional young people the Y worked with the WWMS SWAGG after school program, providing lifeguards so that students could participate in a weekly recreational swim.  These three initiatives helped the Y reach more African American and Hispanic children and youth and provide them with the skills needed to safely enjoy the fun filled days of summer.   
There are many online resources and safety tips for families to use this summer.  Here is a link to one such resource and a few tips to assure that everyone enjoys an accident free summer. 


Water Safety Tips from the Pool Safely "Simple Steps Save Lives" Program 

1. Staying close, being alert and watching children in and around the pool
  • Never leave a child unattended in a pool or spa and always watch your child when he or she is in or near water
  • Teach children basic water safety tips
  • Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments
  • Have a telephone close by when you or your family is using a pool or spa
  • If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first
  • Share safety instructions with family, friends and neighbors
2.  Learning and practicing water safety skills
  • Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim
  • Learn to perform CPR on children and adults, and update those skills regularly
  • Understand the basics of life-saving so that you can assist in a pool emergency