There is one word for this winter in New England -- snow, snow and more snow! As we continue to shovel out from beneath what appears to be a weekly snowstorm, it’s hard to imagine long hot summer days by the pool, at the lake or on the beach but one thing is certain, summer is coming and Marblehead’s Lynch/van Otterloo YMCA wants kids to be safe and ready to enjoy all the water fun that is so synonymous with summer. Kids are simply safer by the water when they know how to swim.
Consider this, from Memorial Day through Labor Day 2013, at least 202 children between the ages of 1 and 14 drowned in a swimming pool or spa in the United States. Of those, 143 of the victims were children younger than age 5. These numbers are consistent with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) research that shows that young children and toddlers are especially vulnerable to drowning. Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death among children 1 to 4 years of age and it is the second leading cause of death for children from 5 to 14 years old.
Sue Guertin, Aquatics Director at the Lynch/van Otterloo YMCA in Marblehead says, “Living in communities that are surrounded by water, it is imperative that children and adults know how to swim. There are so many activities around the water here - sailing, kayaking, paddleboarding, surfing, scuba and backyard pools all require that participants are water safe. Camps require passing a water test to engage in a lot of these activities as well. Our goal at the Y is to make both parents and children aware of the risks and teach children to be safe in and around the water. Swimming lessons at the YMCA teach children to build skills that last a lifetime and encourage them to love the water from the start. Children in swim lessons learn pool safety, flotation techniques and stroke skills.
The statistics are alarming but there is something you can do. Teach your kids how to swim. New evidence shows that children ages 1 to 4 may be less likely to drown if they have had formal swimming instruction. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, new data suggests that early swim training may actually lower drowning rates in children under the age of 4 and younger children may benefit from swimming classes.
“To protect their children, parents need to think about layers of protection,” said Jeffrey Weiss, MD, FAAP, lead author of the policy statement and technical report, on the prevention of drowning published in Pediatrics the official journal of the Academy of Pediatrics “Children need to learn to swim,” Dr. Weiss said, adding “Parents must also closely supervise their children around water and know how to perform CPR.”
Developing independent swimmers is the best way to keep your child safe around the water and the Lynch/van Otterloo Y is committed to providing that opportunity. Learning to swim early creates confident, skilled swimmers so get your kids ready to jump into the fun this summer and sign them up for swim lessons. For more information, visit http://goo.gl/HmFQG3