Free Safety Around Water Week
Be Water Smart from the Start
At the Y, we have a deep passion for aquatics and want all kids to learn how to swim. During Safety Around Water Week, we give kids ages 3-12 this opportunity. If your kid is a non-swimmer or a beginner, join us as we teach children basic swimming skills that keep them safe and build their confidence in the water.
The free water safety programs will take place during Spring Break: March 13-17. Please contact your local YMCA to register.
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 one to 14 years old. According to the Florida Department of Health, Florida loses more children under age five to drowning than any other state.
The problem is particularly acute among minority communities. African American children ages 5 to 14 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% of African American and 60% of Hispanic children cannot swim, compared to just 40% of Caucasian children.
The Y is committed to reducing water-related injuries, particularly in communities where children are most at risk. That's why the YMCAs of Tampa Bay, the Rays Foundation, JWB of Pinellas, the Children's Board of Hillsborough County and the United Way of the Suncoast are teaming up to Be Water Smart from the Start. The program is entering its third year of teaching children and adults the importance of safety around water.
The "Be Water Smart" and the Y's "Safety Around Water" program will provide children and even adults from low-income and underserved communities to participate in free water safety lessons. The lessons teach valuable skills like what to do if they find themselves in the water unexpectedly, a situation every child and adult should be equipped to handle.
These classes are just one of the many swim programs that millions of people from toddlers to adults take advantage of at the Y's pools across the country.
Since its inception in 2014, the YMCAs of Tampa Bay and the Be Water Smart from the Start water safety campaign taught thousands of children and adults how to be safe in and around the water. The Y and their water safety partners hope to further bridge cultural and access gaps that can prevent children from learning important water safety skills.
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 YMCA of the Tampa Bay's water safety programs go to ymcatampabay.org.