by Kristen Hogan
As swim season approaches, the Y encourages children and parents to explore the many benefits of swimming, while also keeping safety top of mind. In the Y’s swim programs, participants can enjoy water sports, enhance or learn new techniques, meet new friends and develop confidence, while also learning safety skills that can save lives.
“Water safety and swimming are important life skills in the growth and development of all children,” said Kristen Hogan. “All children deserve access to water safety resources that not only could save their lives, but enrich them with an outlet for fun, healthy activity.”
Parents should take an active role in their child’s safety. The following are safety tips to practice when in and around the water:
- Only swim when and where there is a lifeguard on duty; never swim alone.
- Adults should constantly and actively watch their children.
- Inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
- Parents or guardians of young children should be within an arm’s reach.
- Children and adults should not engage in breath holding activities.
In addition to learning lifesaving water safety skills, children can increase their physical activity by swimming. Swimming also motivates children to strive for self-improvement, teaches goal orientation and cultivates a positive mental attitude and high self-esteem. Additionally, it teaches life lessons based on sport and sportsmanship, so that children can learn how to work well with teammates and coaches and how to deal with winning and losing.
As a leading nonprofit committed to youth development, the Y has been a leader in providing swim lessons and water safety for more than 94 years. The Y continues to help youth and adults experience the joy and benefits of swimming so they can be healthy, confident and secure in the water. There are a variety of programs to choose from, including family swim, swim team, water aerobics, family swimming lessons, swim birthday parties and basic swimming lessons. To ensure that everyone has an opportunity to participate, financial assistance is available to those in need to help cover the costs. Contact your local YMCA for additional information.