Water Smart is Water Safe
Association Aquatics Director Jessica Murray, is reminding children and guardians to keep safety top of mind when heading to local pools, beaches, or lakes this coming Spring and Summer season. Last year was a tragic year, with more than 47 people drowning in Massachusetts alone and a reported 167 near-drowning incidents in the last two years. In an effort to start our water safety campaign as early as possible, the Y will release a series of water safety instructional videos, classes, and safety tips over the next several months.
In 2020, drowning was the leading cause of unintentional injury death among Massachusetts children ages 1-14, whereas it was the 2nd leading cause of unintentional injury death nationally. In addition, children ages 1-4 had the highest rates of drownings in Massachusetts among children ages 17 and younger.
“Parents and caregivers can take life-saving steps to help keep their children safe and prevent drownings” says Jessica Murray, Association Aquatics Director. “Enrolling children in swim lessons is one of the best ways to reduce their risk for drowning and learn water safety skills.”
In the United States, someone dies from drowning every 10 minutes. One out of every five drowning victims is a child, and, for every child who drowns, another five children get treated with injuries related to being submerged in water. Overall, drowning is the No. 2 leading cause of death for kids aged 5 to 14.
The YMCA observes National Water Safety Month each year in May, but there’s no time like the present to remind parents of the basics of year-round water safety.
“For children who may not know how to swim or are weaker swimmers, parents should make sure their child wears a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Furthermore, even if their child is a strong swimmer, it’s important to provide close supervision and teach children to use the buddy system while swimming,” said Jessica.
Teaching children how to be safe around water is not a luxury; it is a necessity. During the last year, the YMCA of Metro North provided life-saving swim lessons to over 5,000 children and adults at their pools in Lynn, Melrose, Saugus, and Peabody. Swim lessons alone are not always enough to prevent serious harm or injury around the water. Everyone needs to stay alert and understand the importance of following safety rules.
“We know the risk of drowning or injury can be reduced by almost 90 percent if children participate in formal swim lessons by the age of 4,” says Kathleen Walsh, President and CEO of YMCA of Metro North. “We do everything we can at the Y to give adults and children the tools they need to be safe around water.”
The YMCA of Metro North is sharing our top water safety tips to help caregivers teach children to be water smart and water safe this summer. More resources are on the state water safety website: https://www.mass.gov/water-safety