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Water Safety Tips from the YMCA

The YMCA of Central Kentucky wants to ensure that water safety doesn’t get lost in the Bluegrass’ eagerness to return to a “normal” summer. As temperatures rise, kids want to cool off, whether that is in home or community pools, ponds, lakes, rivers, streams or oceans. 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 Central Kentucky typically teaches more than 5,000 children invaluable water safety and swimming skills each year. Last year, though due to COVID-19 precautions, we saw that number dip and want to remind parents and caregivers that it’s more important than ever to keep water safety top of mind as families start to return to their usual summer routines,” said Brittany Brewer, YMCA of Central Kentucky senior aquatics director.

As part of National Water Safety Month, the Y is encouraging parents to play an active role in promoting water safety and providing five tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable swimming experience for all.

  1. 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.
  2. Supervise your children whenever they’re in or near water. Whether it’s bath time or taking a dip in a pool or lake, make sure your children are within arm’s reach at all times.
  3. Don’t engage in breath holding activities. Children should not hold their breath for a prolonged amount of time while swimming, as this can cause drowning and has several other severe physical side-effects.
  4. Wear a life jacket: Inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket. 
  5. 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. The Y’s Safety Around Water program teaches the “reach, throw, don’t go” concept of using a long object to reach for them and pull them to safety. By using this technique children can help their friend without compromising their own safety.

The outdoor pool at the C.M. Gatton Beaumont YMCA and the outdoor splash pad at the Whitaker Family YMCA will open Saturday, May 29. A special summer membership bundle with savings is available through May 31. To learn more about the YMCA of Central Kentucky’s swim programs and to explore pool hours and schedules, please visit ymcacky.org/schedules.