The YMCA’s Swim Program Tackles Critical Public Safety Issue of Drowning Prevention

In observance of National Water Safety Month the YMCA of Greater Charlotte reinforces the importance of water safety and swim lessons during peak months for water recreation.

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Learning how to swim can save lives. It’s not a luxury – it’s a necessary life skill. The YMCA of Greater Charlotte is committed to addressing this critical public safety issue by offering swimming and water safety lessons at every age.

Charlotte, NC (PRWEB) May 13, 2014

This May the YMCA of Greater Charlotte celebrates National Water Safety Month by reinforcing the importance of water safety and learning to swim. A historical nonprofit committed to youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y has been a leading provider of swim and water safety programs, serving Charlotteans for 140 years. In 2013 the YMCA of Greater Charlotte taught more than 14,013 kids, teens and adults the life-saving skill of swimming through group and private swim lessons. As we segue into the peak months for water recreation and activities, the Y encourages families to build and strengthen their swimming and water safety skills by enrolling in swim lessons.

According to a media report compiled by the USA Swimming Foundation, published by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), from Memorial Day through Labor Day 2013, more than 200 children younger than 15 years of age drowned in a swimming pool or spa in the United States, which represents a 68 percent increase from the 137 victims reported by the CPSC for summer 2012. More than 70 percent of last summer’s victims were five years old or younger. Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death among children 1 to 4 years of age and the second leading cause of death for children from 5 to 14 years old. For the second consecutive year, the state of North Carolina continues to be ranked ninth among the states that suffered the most drowning fatalities involving children younger than 15 years old.

“Seeing the increase in drowning statistics is alarming,” said Laura Ferguson, Director of Program Development and Risk. “Most of these drowning deaths can be prevented by learning basic water safety techniques. Quite simply, learning how to swim can save lives. It’s not a luxury – it’s a necessary life skill. The YMCA of Greater Charlotte is committed to addressing this critical public safety issue by offering swimming and water safety lessons at every age.”

In addition to swim lessons, CMPD Chief Rodney Monroe reminds parents that the presence of a lifeguard is never a reason to let down their own guard. “Pool decks are full of parents reading, talking to friends and even sleeping,” he said. “Lifeguards and parents must work as a team to prevent drowning.”

The Y’s aquatics experts safeguard water activities of 32 pools and three waterfronts and recommend kids and adults practice the following safety 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 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.

Beyond exercise, 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 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.”

“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.”

The Y offers parent and child swim lessons for kids as young as six-months to 36-months-old, providing a positive and fun environment to foster the parent-child relationship through water exploration. The Y also provides comprehensive youth and adult swim lessons for all skill levels.

The YMCA of Greater Charlotte encourages members of the media to raise the public’s awareness of water safety and any community effort to prevent drowning, including Y swim lessons.

YMCA leaders, swim instructors, lifeguards and program participants are available for interviews.

Reporters should contact Molly Thompson, YMCA Public Relations, at (704) 716-6258 or molly.thompson(at)ymcacharlotte(dot)org.

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 274,000 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 140 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


Contact

  • Michelle Guinyard
    YMCA Greater Charlotte
    +1 (704) 716-6284
    Email