The YMCA of Greater Charlotte Uses National Water Safety Month to Reinforce the Importance of Swim Lessons for Children

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Before swimming season starts, the YMCA provides Swim Safe Tips to prevent drowning and empower kids to be smart, safe and confident in and out of the water

Research proves that “kids who start swimming at a young age achieve several milestones in areas of cognitive, physical and language development earlier than the normal population.”

The YMCA of Greater Charlotte is committed to providing as many opportunities as possible for everyone to learn basic swimming lessons and water safety practices that can save lives,” said Laura Ferguson, Director of Program Development and Risk.

Summertime and water activities go hand in hand, particularly in the hot Carolina sun. In honor of National Water Safety Month, the YMCA of Greater Charlotte reminds families about to embark on seasonal recreation about the importance of teaching kids to swim and practice water safety.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in the summer of 2012, there were 137 child drowning deaths in the United States. Of those 137, 100 or 73% were toddlers ages 1-4, making drowning the leading cause of unintentional death for children in this age group.

A historical nonprofit committed to youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y is a leading provider of swim and water safety programs. In 2012 the Y taught more than 11,000 kids and teens, ages 6 months to 17 years old, and over 1,600 adults to swim.

“The YMCA of Greater Charlotte is committed to providing as many opportunities as possible for everyone to learn basic swimming lessons and water safety practices that can save lives,” said Laura Ferguson, Director of Program Development and Risk. “We encourage kids and adults to have fun when in and around the water, but to always make safety their first priority.”
The YMCA of Greater Charlotte encourages kids and adults to practice the following Swim Safe tips 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 children in and near the water. If multiple adults are in the vicinity, designate a “water watcher” so everyone knows who is on duty.
  • Inexperienced swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket when in, on or around the water.
  • Parents or guardians of children who are non-swimmers or beginning level swimmers should be in the water and within arm’s reach of their child.
  • Children and adults should not engage in breath holding activities in the water.

Beyond recreation and safety, recent studies suggest there is another compelling reason to teach children to swim at an early age. In the world’s most comprehensive study conducted on kids and swimming by a team of experts with the Griffith Institute for Educational Research, there is a direct correlation between the ability to swim and proficiency in motor and cognitive abilities. According to a study featured in Medical News Today, research proves that “kids who start swimming at a young age achieve several milestones in areas of cognitive, physical and language development earlier than the normal population.”

The YMCA of Greater Charlotte offers Parent and Child swim lessons for kids as young as six- months-old, providing a positive and fun environment to foster the parent-child relationship through water exploration.

“So many people that don’t know how to swim spend years being afraid of the water,” reports Ferguson. “When kids learn to swim at an early age, they don’t have to overcome the fear of water – they grow up feeling confident and safe. All kids deserve that.”

About the YMCA of Greater Charlotte

The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The YMCA of Greater Charlotte, comprised of 19 Y branches and two resident camps, engages approximately 292,000 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. Deeply rooted in the community for 138 years, the YMCA of Greater Charlotte has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. ymcacharlotte.org.

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Molly Thompson
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