May is National Water Safety Month, a perfect time to remember that with all of the lakes, oceans, pools and rivers in the Tampa Bay Area, children must know water safety skills. At the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA, we believe that everyone deserves access to water safety classes, no matter their circumstances.
Last year through the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA, 13,960 children learned to swim and be safe around water, which is critical considering more children under the age of 4 drown in Florida than anywhere else in the nation. The Y is committed to doing what it takes to ensure not one more child drowns in Tampa Bay.
Research shows that formal swim lessons cut the risk of drowning by 88 percent. The YMCAs of Tampa Bay are offering free Safety Around Water lessons to children and their families to ensure that they have the skills needed to remain safe, opening up a world of possibilities for all!
The Y’s Safety Around Water program is free and open to the entire community, beginners and non-swimmers, ages 3-12 years. During the 4-day course, certified instructors teach kids a sequenced set of skills that will reduce the risk of drowning and give them confidence in and around water. Each 40-minute class includes exercises to help kids adjust to being in the water. Kids learn “Jump, Push, Turn, Grab” and “Swim, Float, Swim,” two skill sets they can use if they unexpectedly find themselves in the water or in an area they cannot touch bottom. Additionally, specific safety topics are covered in each class including what to do if you see someone in the water who needs help.
Free Safety Around Water lessons are offered during the month of May. A YMCA membership is not required; however, due to limited space, pre-registration is required. Visit www.tampaymca.org or contact your local Tampa YMCA with any questions. Other participating Y associations include YMCA of the Suncoast, Manatee Family YMCA and SKY Family YMCA.
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:
- Supervise all water activities; never leave a child alone
- Throw, don’t go. Always toss a flotation device; never jump in to save
- Always keep a phone near the pool to call 911 in case of an emergency
- Never allow swimming in an unlit pool after dark
- Keep non-pool toys like wagons and tricycles away from the pool
- Test your child’s swim skills at the Y for free
- Add barriers around your pool, keeping all doors and gates locked
- Remember to remove inflatable toys from the pool when not in use.
- Never permit diving in the shallow end of the pool
- Make sure all gates and doors to the pool area are self-closing and self-latching
*Presented by the YMCA | Originally published in May 2022