Cool Off with Caution This Summer
Swimming is among the most enjoyable and beneficial physical activities in a child’s life, but can also be a very dangerous one. As the start of the summer is around the corner, it is important to know and follow rules to ensure water safety.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about ten people die from unintentional drowning each day. Of these, two will be children aged 14 or young. Additionally, drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death for people of all ages, and is the second leading cause of death for children between the ages of five and nine.
For every child who dies from drowning, another four received emergency department care for nonfatal submission injuries. Nonfatal drowning can cause brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities including memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functions.
“Drowning can happen quickly and quietly anywhere there is water. As the start of the summer is almost here and families are preparing for trips to the pool and beach vacations, the Y urges families to be vigilant as they head toward the water this season,” said Dana Collins, Executive Director of the YMCA of Burlington and Camden Counties.
In recognition of the summer season and May being National Water Safety Month, the Y offers important safety tips for all ages:
- Designate a “water-watcher” during swim time. Never leave a child alone near a pool, spa, bathtub, toilet, bucket or any standing water in which a child’s nose or mouth may be submerged, even if a lifeguard is on duty. It only takes one inch of water to cover a child’s mouth and nose potentially cause drowning. In the time it takes to cross a room or pool deck for a towel, a child can slip silently under the surface of the water, even while wearing a floating device.
- Be prepared in case of emergency. It’s important to take the time to learn life-saving skills like CPR, and to have a phone handy in the pool area. The Y offers First Aid, CPR & AED training, as well as Lifeguard certification courses.
- Educate others about pool safety. Adults present when a child drowns are often distracted in some way. Talk to babysitters and other caregivers about appropriate pool behavior. If you own a pool, make sure neighbors, relatives and friends know and abide by the rules.
- Don’t play games underwater. While they seem fun at first, activities that require you to hold your breath can result in loss of consciousness.
- Maintain appropriate lifesaving equipment. Keep a life preserver and rope in the pool area, hanging from the fence so they are accessible but not in the way.
- Safeguard pool area for children. Keep pool gates locked and all furniture away from fence to ensure a child can’t climb over. Make sure to use gates that are self-closing and self-latching. When inside the pool area, keep toys at a safe distance from the edge of the pool.
- Avoid entrapment. Suction from a pool’s drain is so powerful it can trap an adult underwater. Make sure drains are in working order and replace any missing or broken drain covers.
- Never dive into above ground pools. They are too shallow, as are most in-ground pools as well. Always be aware of the depth before jumping in.
- Learn to swim. The Y, America’s Favorite Swim Instructor, has been teaching children, as early as six months old, and adults to swim for more than 100 years. The Y’s pools are equipped for people with special needs and include chair lifts to assist swimmers into and out of the water.
The YMCA of Burlington and Camden Counties offers swim lessons at the Mt. Laurel YMCA, Burlington-Riverfront YMCA and at off-site locations in Lumberton, Sicklerville and Voorhees for children ages 6 months and up including:
- Parent/Child Classes - Ages 6 months – 3 years
- Preschool Classes - Ages 3 – 5 years
- Youth Classes - Ages 6 – 12 years
- Teen/Adult - Ages 13 years and up
Learning to swim at the YMCA is more than just stroke development, techniques and skills. Classes are divided into skill levels and trained instructors emphasize personal safety, swimming skills, endurance and social skills while guiding students with praise and encouragement.
“Safe swimming saves lives. It is a life skill that all children should have the chance to learn. It is our duty as parents and guardians to protect our children and that includes diligence in and around water. We need to ensure that we are water smart,” said Collins. “When kids learn to swim, they respect and enjoy the water and they are proactive with water safety.”
This summer, the Y will offer two convenient summer sessions. Summer 1 Session runs June 23 through July 27 with registration beginning June 9 for full facility members, June 16 for program members and June 19 for non-members. Summer 2 Session runs July 28 through August 24 with registration beginning July 14 for facility members, July 21 for program members and July 24 for non-members.
For more information on swim lessons and all summer programming offered by the Y, please call the YMCA of Burlington and Camden Counties at 856.231.9622 or visit www.ymca-bc.org.About the Y
The YMCA of Burlington & Camden Counties is a cause-driven, community based, charitable nonprofit organization that strengthens community by building healthy, confident, connected and secure children, adults and families. With a focus on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y nurtures the potential of every youth and teen, improves the community's health and well-being and provides opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Throughout neighborhoods across the two counties and its 50+ sites, the Y makes accessible the support and opportunities that empower more than 30,000 people each year to learn, grow and thrive. Visit ymca-bc.org.