YMCA Promotes Water Safety Month in May

The YMCA of Rock River Valley is creating awareness about the importance of water safety skills during the month of May. According to data from the USA Swimming Foundation, 70 percent of African American and 60 percent of Hispanic children cannot swim, compared to just 40 percent of Caucasian children. While fatal drowning is a concern for all children – it’s the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages one to 14 years old.

YMCA swim lessons help children learn fundamental water safety and swimming skills. Children learn how to respond if they find themselves in unexpected water situations -- from how to reach the water’s surface if they submerge to safely reaching a pool’s edge or exiting any body of water.   

“All children deserve access to water safety resources and swim lessons are a great starting point to not only get kids comfortable in the water, but also develop a love of swimming,” said Jenny Salberg, Aquatics Director, YMCA of Rock River Valley.  “In many underserved communities, staying safe around water means keeping kids away from water, but water safety and swimming are important life skills that need fostering in all children.”

Teaching children how to swim and be safe around water is one of the most important life skills parents can help their children learn. It not only saves lives, it builds confidence. Research shows that participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning among children one to four years of age. 

The Y introduced the concept of group swim lessons in 1909. Now, each year in 2,200 pools across the country, the Y teaches more than a million children from all backgrounds invaluable water safety and swim skills. Here in the Rock River Valley the Y teaches more than 2,000 participants water safety and swimming each year. The Y offers lessons for all ages and skill levels.

Families interested in learning more about YMCA swim lessons can visit our youth swim page. The next session of swim lessons begins June 6, 2016. Watch a story featuring YMCA swim lessons on WREX-TV.