Waterproofing Kids May Be Impossible, but the YMCA of Greater Nashua Can Help Make Them Safer Around Water
Programs offer a mix of fun, physical activity and safety to create a lifelong love of swimming
As the season turns from winter to spring and summer, the YMCA of Greater Nashua encourages children and parents in the Greater Nashua community to explore the many benefits of swimming, while also keeping safety top of mind. In Y swim programs, participants can enjoy water sports, enhance or learn new techniques, meet new friends and develop confidence, while also learning safety skills that can save lives.
“It’s never too early to get children involved in swimming—it’s important for safety reasons, but also a great way to keep active and healthy,” said Kevin Morton, Senior Aquatics Director, YMCA of Greater Nashua. “In fact, newer studies show that children as young as 1 year old can benefit from formal swim lessons. There are so many options for parents, but the best place to start is by learning basic water safety skills that helps get kids familiar with the water that often continues with swim lessons and competitive swim programs and can even lead to a career.”
There is a list of basic life skills all parents instinctively know they must teach their children to keep them safe and healthy. It includes habits like looking both ways before crossing the street, washing your hands with soap and water and eating the right amount of fruits and vegetables every day.
For too many parents, safety in and around water is not on the list; and that’s something we need to change.
Fatal drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years old. The problem is particularly acute among minority communities. For example, African American children ages 5 to 14 are three times more likely to drown than their white counterparts. The disparity is partly due to the lack of swimming experience among these children.
According to a 2017 national research study conducted by the USA Swimming Foundation with the University of Memphis and University of Nevada-Las Vegas, 64 percent of African American children and cannot swim, compared to 45 percent of Hispanic children and 40 percent of Caucasian children. Additionally, 79 percent of children in families with household income less than $50,000 have no/low swimming ability.
As part of the program, the YMCA of Greater Nashua will provide scholarships to children from low-income and underserved communities to participate in swim lessons. The lessons teach young people valuable skills like what to do if they find themselves in the water unexpectedly, a situation every child should be equipped to handle.
These classes are just one of the many swim programs that more than a million people, from toddlers to adults, take advantage of at the Y’s more than 2,000 pools across the country. Here in the Greater Nashua community the Y teaches hundreds of children water safety and swimming each year. Through Safety Around Water, the Y hopes to further bridge cultural and access gaps that can prevent some children from learning important water safety skills.
If children know how to stay safe in and around water, swimming can be a lifelong source of fun and exercise. Instead of keeping your children away from water, help them learn fundamental water safety skills. These classes can provide a new, exciting way to keep active and meet new friends.
As part of National Water Safety Month in May, the YMCA of Greater Nashua encourages parents to take an active role in fostering a relationship between their children and swimming—beginning with water safety. The following are safety tips to practice 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.
As a leading nonprofit committed to youth development, the Y has been a leader in providing swim lessons and water safety for more than 130 years. The YMCA of Greater Nashua continues to help youth and adults experience the joy and benefits of swimming, so they can be healthy, confident and secure in the water.
To ensure that everyone has an opportunity to participate, financial assistance is available to those in need to help cover the costs.
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