The YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas has announced it has set a goal of eliminating childhood drowning in kids 4 and under. Drowning is the second leading cause of death of preschoolers, second only to birth defects. This effort aims to dramatically reduce that statistic, while educating parents on how they can protect their children from accidental drowning.
Memorial Day Weekend is the start of the busy summer swim season. To kick off this effort, the YMCA will hold free swim assessments at its Waxahachie branch on Saturday from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Parents can sign up at ymcadallas.org/swim and bring in their children to the Waxahachie YMCA, where a licensed swim instructor will evaluate each child’s swim skills and determine which level of swim lessons they should be enrolled in.
“Many parents think that their child will scream or kick when they are in trouble in the water, but the sad fact is that you will not hear your child drown. Drowning is quick and silent. It takes 20 seconds for a child to become unconscious, 90 seconds for irreversible damage,” said Jennifer Prewitt, Associate VP of Aquatics at the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas. “The majority of children drown in backyard pools and with adults around – but they may be distracted or do not have their eyes actively on the child. Our goal is to educate parents so that no preschool aged child drowns in North Texas.”
The Dallas YMCA recommends three tips for parents to protect their children around pools:
• Supervision. When you are watching your kids around the pool, it’s unlike any other time you watch them. Your eyes should actively be on your child at all times. Many backyard drownings are accidents where the adults are present but are barbecuing, talking to one another, or run inside quickly. The YMCA offers Water Watcher tags as a resource to help remind adults that when they are wearing it, watching the kids around water should be their sole focus.
• Create barriers around your pool. Most accidental drownings happen in backyard pools. Install additional safety features to keep your child from getting into the pool when they shouldn’t be there – a fence around the pool and/or an alarm on your back door is a good place to start.
• Enroll your kids in swim lessons. According to the CDC, swimming lessons reduce the risk of drowning in preschoolers by 88%. But even if you have your young child in swim lessons, it’s also a good idea for them to wear a coast guard approved life jacket in and around the pool as extra insurance for your child around water. Keep it on them at all times – even if they are out of the water on the pool deck taking a break or eating lunch.
The Dallas YMCA has been working with Children’s Health as its partner in drowning prevention through the “Know Before You Go” partnership for more than 20 years. Join us in committing to swim safe this summer. Visit KnowBeforeYouGo.com and YMCADallas.org for more information.