YMCA Water Safety Tips for Parents & Guardians

Middletown, NJ – As families prepare for the start of summer this Memorial Day weekend, The Community YMCA urges everyone to make water safety a priority. 

“With so many families planning to visit beaches and pools, it’s important for parents to make water safety a priority this summer,” said Rebecca Rivera, Aquatics Director at The Community YMCA. “If you have a pool or are planning on taking a child or children to an aquatic location, it is important for you and your child to know how to swim, basic first aid, what to do in an emergency and to remain aware at all times.”

Drowning is the number one leading cause of accidental death among children under 5 and the second cause of accidental death of those aged 5 – 24.

To help keep this summer safe and fun, the Y offers the following advice on being diligent around water, whether it is at the pool or the beach:

Supervision – Never leave children unattended in or near water, not even for a few seconds. Children can drown in a few inches of water within seconds. Children - teens and adults - should only swim where there is a lifeguard or a responsible adult present. Ensure the adult knows how to swim and how to call for help. Keep a phone and rescue equipment close by and avoid distractions.

Floatation devices – Floatation devices are not substitutes for supervision, even if a child can swim.

Young children and inexperienced swimmers should wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on floatation devices alone.

Buddy up – In the pool or the ocean, always swim with a buddy.  Everyone should “buddy up,” even if an experienced swimmer. At the beach, swim in view of the lifeguard at all times.

Avoid alcohol – Never mix alcohol with any water activities. It is a dangerous combination.

Be vigilant – In outside bodies of water, pay attention to the weather and the tides. Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip tides often exist near these structures. If by the pool and a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing deaths or disability. Whether at the beach or a pool, do not dive in head first, protect your neck. Check for depth and obstructions before diving.

Learn to swim – Ensure that everyone in your family learns to swim well. Enroll in an age-appropriate program. The Y offers a wide variety of progressive swim programs.

For beginning swimmers, the Y offers Learn-to-Swim Week, a community outreach program, held June 18-22, to assist swimmers of all ages in learning basic swim and water safety skills before the start of summer. Fee is $15 for a week of 5 lessons. To register, visit the Y’s Family Health & Wellness Center, 166 Maple Avenue, Red Bank.

For more information on the Y’s swim courses or certification trainings, visit TheCommunityYMCA.org or call 732.741.2504, ext. 11.