As Communities Return to “Normal,” Water Safety Should Be Top of Mind

James Family Prescott YMCA wants to ensure that water safety doesn’t get lost in the Quad Cities’ eagerness to return to a “normal” summer. As temperatures rise, kids want to cool off, whether that is in home pools, ponds, lakes, rivers, streams, or oceans. And that means the risk of drowning is as prevalent as ever. For National Water Safety Month this May, the YMCA is encouraging parents and caregivers to reinforce the importance of water safety skills with the whole family.

“As ‘America’s Swim Instructor,’ the Prescott YMCA typically teaches more than 4,000 swim lessons each year including youth group lessons, private lessons, parent child lessons, PUSD lessons, summer day camp and preschool lessons. Last year and this year, though due to COVID-19 precautions, we saw that number dip and want to remind parents and caregivers that it’s more important than ever to keep water safety top of mind as families start to return to their usual summer routines,” said Austin Olsen, Aquatics Director, Prescott YMCA. “Unfortunately, due to staffing challenges the Y is unable to host swim lessons for the general public this summer, however, we will be teaching swim lessons to our day campers and preschoolers.”

As part of National Water Safety Month, the Prescott YMCA is encouraging parents to play an active role in promoting water safety and providing five tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable swimming experience for all.

  1. Never swim alone or without a water watcher. When children are swimming, make sure they are actively supervised at all times. Teach your children that they should only swim in locations where a lifeguard is on duty, or where a responsible adult agrees to watch the children in the water without distractions.
  2. Supervise your children whenever they are in or near water. Whether it’s bath time or taking a dip in a pool or lake, make sure your children are within arm’s reach at all times.
  3. Do not engage in breath holding activities. Children should not hold their breath for a prolonged amount of time while swimming, as this can cause drowning and has several other severe physical side-effects.
  4. Wear a life jacket: Inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  5. Don’t jump in the water to save a friend who is struggling in deep water. If a child finds their friend in deep water unexpectedly, their natural reaction may be to jump in the water to try to save them. Even if a child is a great swimmer, a panicked person will overpower them, pulling the rescuer underwater. The Y’s Safety Around Water program teaches the “reach, throw, don’t go” concept of using a long object to reach for them and pull them to safety. By using this technique children can help their friend without compromising their own safety.

To learn more about the Prescott YMCA’s swim programs and water safety classes, please contact Austin Olsen at austin.olsen@prescottymca.org or visit www.prescottymca.org.

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About James Family Prescott YMCA

The James Family Prescott YMCA is a community within a community serving our diverse population in the quad-city area. As a leading nonprofit organization, the YMCA exists to strengthen the foundation of the community. The YMCA serves local communities in Prescott, Prescott Valley, Chino Valley and Dewey/Humboldt since 1974; offering over 60 health, wellness and community programs within the four-building facility.

The YMCA is dedicated to providing affordable programs and services to benefit people of all incomes and backgrounds. Thanks to the generous support of those who donate to the Y’s Annual Campaign and other fundraising events, financial assistance is available to those who cannot afford the full fee and qualify for assistance.

The YMCA aims to provide each member with every opportunity to reach farther and improve their lives and the lives of those around them. Through Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility, the YMCA’s goal is to inspire positive and lasting social change. For more information visit www.prescottymca.org.

About the Y

The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 22 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. ymca.net

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