May is Water Safety Month: The Y Offers Tips

The YMCA of Rock River Valley wants to ensure that water safety doesn’t get lost in our eagerness to jump into summer.  As temperatures rise, kids want to cool off, whether that is in home pools, ponds, lakes, rivers, or streams. And that means the risk of drowning is as prevalent as ever. For National Water Safety Month this May, the Y is encouraging parents and caregivers to reinforce the importance of water safety skills with the whole family.

“As ‘America’s Swim Instructor,’ the YMCA of Rock River Valley teaches hundreds of children every year valuable water safety and swimming skills,” said Jamie Lowery, Senior Director of Aquatics. “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.”

As part of National Water Safety Month, the Y is providing five tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable swimming experience for all.

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. 

To learn more about the YMCA of Rock River Valley swim programs, click here. The Y offers year-round lessons indoors and outdoor lessons at the Rockford Park District pools. Financial assistance is available and free lessons are offered at Harkins Aquatics Center Monday through Thursday at 4:15pm starting June 19.