With Summer Around the Corner, Water Safety Should Be Top of Mind

woman teaching child swimming

In 2022, NC YMCAs provided swim lessons to more than 20,000 kids and provided the Y's Safety Around Water program to more than 10,000 children. That's because we're serious about valuable, lifelong water safety and swimming skills.

In honor of Water Safety Month, the Y is offering tips for parents to keep kids safe in and around water this summer.

North Carolina YMCAs want to ensure that water safety doesn’t get lost in our eagerness to jump into 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 Y is encouraging parents and caregivers to reinforce the importance of water safety skills with the whole family.  

“Now more than ever, it’s important to remind parents and caregivers that water safety needs to be top-of-mind as families start to return to their favorite summertime activities,”  
As part of National Water Safety Month, the Y 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. 

  • Make sure children know to always ask permission before going in or near the water. Teaching your children to be water smart is the first step in water safety – be sure they understand the importance of asking permission before going in or near the water. 
  • 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. 
  • Supervise your children whenever they’re in or near water. Whether it’s bath time or taking a dip in a pool or waterfront, make sure your children are within arm’s reach at all times.  
  • Don’t engage in breath holding activities. Children should not hold their breath for a prolonged amount of time while swimming, as this can be dangerous.
  • Wear a life jacket. Inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.    
  • 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.