Water safety tips

Courtesy of YMCA of the USA

(BPT) - Summer is fast approaching, which means many children will be in and around water whether on the beach, by the pool or at camp. The following guidelines are recommendations for parents to help keep their children safe.

According to the Center for Disease Control, drowning is the leading cause of injury death among children aged 1-4, and the third leading cause of unintentional injury death in children and adolescents aged 5-19.

Teaching children how to be safe in and around water is one of the most important life skills parents can give their children.

Lindsay Mondick, Senior Manager of Aquatics at YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) offers important safety tips to protect children from harm around water, whether it's in the bathtub, at the beach, or in a pool.

Never swim alone. Nobody should swim by themselves, in case of accident. Teach children that they should never enter the water anywhere without a lifeguard and/or responsible camp counselor attending them.

Stay attentive and watch without distraction. If with a large group, or even if a lifeguard is present, designate one person to watch the child or children at all times.

Wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets. Children and adolescents must wear appropriately sized and weighted life jackets in or around watercraft. It's important to understand that not all life jackets are Coast Guard approved.

Don't practice holding your breath under water. Children should not have breath-holding contests or participate in underwater swimming challenges that could risk their lives.

Learn CPR. When seconds count, bystanders may be the first to help, so learning CPR may save a life.

Teach basic swim skills early. Not only do most children enjoy swimming lessons, but taking formal lessons can save their lives. Many free or reduced-cost options for classes are available at a local community center or YMCA for children from 6 months old through adults.

Each year, the “Y” teaches over a million children and teens how to swim, providing lessons about water safety in a fun, safe environment. For more information visit www.ymca.net.