It’s Time to Focus on Keeping
Children Safe Around Water
There is a list of basic life skills all parents instinctively know they must teach their children to keep them safe and healthy. It includes habits like looking both ways before you cross the street, washing your hands with soap and water and eating the right amount of fruits and vegetables every day.
For too many parents, safety in and around water is not on the list; and that’s something we need to change.
Fatal drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years old. For children under the age of 5, more than 60 drowning deaths per year occurred state-wide over the last 5 years. The problem is particularly acute among minority communities. African American children are three times more likely to drown than their white counterparts. The disparity is partly due to the lack of swimming experience among these children.
According to a recent national research study conducted by the USA Swimming Foundation and the University of Memphis, 70 percent of African American and 60 percent of Hispanic children cannot swim, compared to just 40 percent of Caucasian children.
The Y is committed to reducing water-related injuries, particularly in communities where children are most at risk. Joining us in the cause is First 5 Riverside, the Riverside County Children & Families Commission. First 5 Riverside invests in partnerships that promote, support and enhance the health and early development of Riverside County children, prenatal through age 5, their families and communities.
As part of the program, the YMCA of Riverside County will provide opportunities to children from low-income and underserved communities to participate in free water safety lessons. The lessons teach young people valuable skills like what to do if they find themselves in the water unexpectedly, a situation every child should be equipped to handle. Sessions will run this summer at Shamel Park in Riverside from June to July and from August to September.
If you know how to stay safe in and around water, swimming can be a lifelong source of fun and exercise. Instead of keeping your children away from water, help them learn fundamental water safety skills by enrolling them in lessons. These classes can provide them a new, exciting way to keep active and meet new friends.
To learn more about the Y’s Safety Around Water program, please visit www.ymcarc.org/swim!
For more information and updates about YMCA programs in Riverside County, subscribe to Y News below!