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As Communities Return to “Normal,” Water Safety Should Be Top of Mind

As Communities Return to “Normal,” Water Safety Should Be Top of Mind

The Greater Wyoming Valley Area YMCA is offering tips for parents to keep kids safe in and around water this summer.

 

LUZERNE COUNTY, 05/14/2021 – The Greater Wyoming Valley Area YMCA wants to ensure that water safety doesn’t get lost in our community’s eagerness to return to a “normal” summer. As temperatures rise, kids want to cool off, whether that is in home pools, ponds, lakes, rivers, streams, or oceans. And that means the risk of drowning is as prevalent as ever. For National Water Safety Month this May, the Greater Wyoming Valley Area YMCA is encouraging parents and caregivers to reinforce the importance of water safety skills with the whole family.

“As ‘America’s Swim Instructor,’ the Greater Wyoming Valley Area YMCA typically teaches approximately 1,000 children invaluable water safety and swimming skills each year. Last year, though due to COVID-19 precautions, we saw that number dip and want to remind parents and caregivers that it’s more important than ever to keep water safety top of mind as families start to return to their usual summer routines,” said Jim Thomas, Executive Director, Greater Wyoming Valley Area YMCA.

As part of National Water Safety Month, the Greater Wyoming Valley Area YMCA is encouraging parents to play an active role in promoting water safety and providing five tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable swimming experience for all.

1. Never swim alone or without a water watcher. When children are swimming, make sure they are actively supervised at all times. Teach your children that they should only swim in locations where a lifeguard is on duty, or where a responsible adult agrees to watch the children in the water without distractions.

2. Supervise your children whenever they’re in or near water. Whether it’s bath time or taking a dip in a pool or lake, make sure your children are within arm’s reach at all times.

3. Don’t engage in breath holding activities. Children should not hold their breath for a prolonged amount of time while swimming, as this can cause drowning and has several other severe physical side-effects.

4. Wear a life jacket: Inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.

5. Don’t jump in the water to save a friend who is struggling in deep water. If a child finds their friend in deep water unexpectedly, their natural reaction may be to jump in the water to try to save them. Even if a child is a great swimmer, a panicked person will overpower them, pulling the rescuer underwater. The Y’s Safety Around Water program teaches the “reach, throw, don’t go” concept of using a long object to reach for them and pull them to safety. By using this technique, children can help their friend without compromising their own safety.

To learn more about the Greater Wyoming Valley Area YMCA’s swim programs, please contact Andrea Butchko, Aquatics Director, at andrea.butchko@wvymca.org.

 

About the Y

Driven by its founding mission, the Y has served as a leading nonprofit committed to strengthening community for more than 175 years. The Y empowers everyone, no matter who they are or where they’re from, by ensuring access to resources, relationships and opportunities for all to learn, grow and thrive. By bringing together people from different backgrounds, perspectives and generations, the Y’s goal is to improve overall health and well-being, ignite youth empowerment and demonstrate the importance of connections in and across 10,000 communities nationwide. For more information about the Greater Wyoming Valley Area YMCA, please visit www.wvymca.org.

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