Teaching children how to be safe around water is not a luxury; it is a necessity. Drowning can happen nearly anywhere with standing water, and it is important to equip kids with the tools they need to be confident in and around water so they don’t lose out on the health benefits of exercise, the opportunities to bond with family and friends and the sense of accomplishment when they learn new skills.
Each year, the Y teaches more than a million children across the nation invaluable water safety and swimming skills. Thanks to its size and reach, the Y is in a unique position to help bridge the gap in the delivery of swim lessons and water safety education in the U.S.—especially in underserved communities.
Check out the resources below to help keep your family and our community safe while playing in and around the water!
Safety Around Water Guidelines
- Never swim alone. Do not let your children swim without supervision, and teach your child to ask for adult permission before going into a pool on their own. Even small children’s pools can pose a threat as kids can drown in as little as six inches of water.
- Designate a “water watcher” whose sole responsibility is watching the kids in the water without distractions such as cell phones or socializing with others.
- Young children and inexperienced swimmers should wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved lifejacket. Ensure that it fits snugly and does not ride up above the chin or ears when in the water. Be sure to check the lifejacket for rips, tears and holes, and ensure all buckles and zippers are intact. Check the label for weight/chest size to ensure a proper fit.
- Only swim in places meant for swimming, like pools, lakes, and beaches. Avoid dams, swamps, and rapids. Never dive or jump into water where you can’t see the bottom.
- Be ready to save a life. Have equipment on hand, such as a safety throw rope or lifesaving ring, a cell phone to call for help, life jackets and a first aid kit in case accidents occur. Adults should also learn CPR.
- Explore different options to enjoy water fun, like setting up a sprinkler or splash pad.
Safety Around Water Tips & Tricks
YMCA Swim School
YMCA Swim School takes a safety-first approach, focusing on small class sizes, boosting confidence in the water, building student/instructor relationships, and allowing each student to progress at their own pace. Our lessons develop aquatic readiness and safe water habits, engage in underwater exploration, and teach children important water safety skills. We offer warm water options, year-round lessons, certified instructors, private and adaptive options, and more!