May is Safety Around Water Month at the Y

The world is 71% water and your children are 100% curious

With May being National Water Safety Month and summer just around the corner, now is the time for parents and caregivers to reinforce the importance of equipping their kids with essential water safety skills.

Swim safety is vitally important to fulfilling the Y’s mission and cause. As "America's Swim Instructor", the Y typically teaches more than 1,000,000 children invaluable water safety and swimming skills each year. With many pools closed last summer due to COVID-19, the Y wants to make sure parents, caregivers and children make water safety a priority as they head back to the water this year.

Equip your children with the tools they need to be safe and confident in and around water so they don’t lose out on the health benefits of exercise, the opportunities to bond with family and friends and the sense of accomplishment when they learn new skills. 

Hard Facts About Drowning

  • In the U.S., drowning takes an average of 3,500-4,000 lives per year.
  • Drowning is the second leading cause of death for kids ages 5-14.
  • 23% of child drownings happen during a family gathering near a pool.
  • Drowning is fast and silent. It can happen in as little as 20-60 seconds.
  • Participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% among children ages 1-4.

Top Five Water Safety Tips For Families

Drowning is preventable! Stay in the know and practice water safety with these tips:

1. Teach Kids To Ask Permssion

Whether it's your home's pool, the beach or a water park, instill in your children the "ask permission" rule before they go near the water. Let them know that you'll likely say yes, but you need time to get prepared to watch them and be proactive. Teaching kids early on to ask permssion will help them have a better understanding that safety comes first.

2. Supervise Children When They're In The Water

When your children are in the water, it's time to be alert. As a general rule, an adult should be within arm's reach of a young child at all times. If other adults are present, you can take turns watching the pool, so everyone gets an equal chance to relax. Working together to protect your children is the best way to prevent an accident.

3. Teach Safe Ways To Enter The Water

Jumping or diving into shallow water is dangerous. Insist that children enter and exit the pool using steps or a ladder (unless they are in a designated diving area). If your pool doesn't have a specified area for diving, don't allow it.

4. Don't Jump In The Water To Save A Friend

If a child sees a friend struggling in the water, their first instinct may be to jump in to help — a move that could lead to both people drowning. The Y recommends the "reach, throw, don't go" technique, which involves using a long object to pull a struggling swimmer to safety. By using this technique, children can help without putting themselves at risk.

5. Enroll Your Children In Swim Lessons

The best way to teach children water safety is to enroll them in swim lessons. Just like teaching your children to look both ways before crossing the street, formal water safety lessons teach important life skills. Swim lessons have been shown to reduce the risk of drowning by 88%. Want to ensure your children know how to be safe around water? Sign them up for swim lessons at the Y.

Register Now for Swim Lessons

Home Activities — Developing Good Swim Technique

Practice swim technique at home or while enjoying family swim time at the Y to help develop good form and build stamina in a particular skill. When the skill has been mastered on land or in a bathtub, it becomes easier to perform in the water. Home activities should be performed under adult supervision.

View Our Home Activities Guide

Swim Reservations

Several of our YMCA aquatic centers are now open to active members for lap lane, shallow zone, family swim and splash pad reservations.

Make a Reservation

Home Activities — Developing Good Swim Technique

Practice swim technique at home or while enjoying family swim time at the Y to help develop good form and build stamina in a particular skill. When the skill has been mastered on land or in a bathtub, it becomes easier to perform in the water. Home activities should be performed under adult supervision.

View Our Home Activities Guide

Watch Now: Check Us Out on ABC 10News!

We teamed up with ABC 10News San Diego to share vital tips on how to keep kids safe around water.

Watch Video