Swimming and water safety tips

Swim lessons for kids dramatically decreases chances of drowning.

Courtesy Channel Islands YMCA

With summer just around the corner, the Stuart C. Gildred Family YMCA is encouraging children and parents to explore the many benefits of swimming, while also keeping safety top of mind.

“Drowning poses a threat to the health and well-being of people nationwide, particularly among children. Research shows that participation in aquatics safety programs and swim lessons significantly reduces the risk of drowning," said Margo Byrne, Chief Operations Officer, Channel Islands YMCA. “Teaching children how to swim and be safe around water not only saves lives, it builds confidence and is an important life skill.”

As part of National Water Safety Month in May, the Stuart C. Gildred Family YMCA encourages parents to take an active role in fostering a relationship between their children and swimming, beginning with water safety.

Following are safety tips to practice when in and around water:

• Only swim when and where there is a lifeguard on duty; 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.

In addition to learning life-saving water safety skills, children can increase their physical activity by swimming. Swimming also motivates children to strive for self-improvement, teaches goal orientation and cultivates a positive mental attitude and high self-esteem. It also teaches life lessons of sport and sportsmanship, so that children can learn how to work well with teammates and coaches and how to deal with winning and losing.

For more information about the Stuart C. Gildred Family YMCA, call 805-686-2037 or visit www.ciymca.org/stuartgildred

Felicia Sutherland is Public Relations Manager for Channel Islands YMCA.

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