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May 1, 2018

Water Safety Month: Free Water Safety Course Offered This Month

By Tampa Bay Parenting

Keeping Kids Safe Around Water

Most parents teach their kids to look both ways before they cross the street; wash your hands with soap and water and eat the right amount of fruits and vegetables every day.

However, for too many parents, safety in and around water is not on the list; and that’s something we need to change. More children under the age of four drown in Florida than anywhere else in the nation. In fact, each year in this state, enough kids to fill four classrooms drown and do not live to see their fifth birthday.

The Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA is committed to reducing these staggering statistics, particularly in communities where children are most at risk. Formal swim lessons cut the risk of drowning by 88 percent. Since there’s proof swim lessons save lives, the Tampa Y is working to reach as many kids as possible to ensure not one more child drowns in Tampa Bay!

Water Safety Month

Thanks to the generosity of the Tampa Bay Rays and United Way Suncoast, the Tampa Y is offering a free 3-week Safety Around Water session to kids who have never tried Tampa Y swim lessons before. Twice a week from May 21 until June 7, certified instructors will introduce new swim lesson participants to water safety skills that could save their lives.

In another effort to reach kids who can’t swim, the Tampa Y provides free swim lessons to YMCA summer campers unable to pass the swim test. They receive free swim lessons throughout the summer until they pass the swim test.

As part of National Water Safety Month, the Tampa YMCA encourages parents to take an active role in water safety. Here 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.

If you know how to stay safe in and around water, swimming can be a lifelong source of fun and exercise. Instead of keeping your kids away from water, help them learn fundamental water safety skills by enrolling them in lessons. These classes can provide them a new, exciting way to keep active and meet new friends. To learn more about the Tampa Y’s swim lessons, stop by one of our ten locations with a pool in Hillsborough and East Pasco counties or go to www.tampaymca.org/swim-lessons-home.

Water Safety Month

Written by Lalita Llerena, Tampa YMCA

Originally published in the May 2018 edition of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine.

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