71% of the world is water. Children are 100% curious.

17 May 2018

As the USA Swimming Foundation reports, no child is ever water safe. [Read Article]

In fact, two children die each day from drowning. Swim lessons and water safety instruction are designed to make children safer in, on, and around water. In their 2017 study with the University of Memphis and the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, the USA Swimming Foundation found that children who know how to be safer around water are almost four times more likely to have good swimming ability. And while swimming lessons can’t eliminate the risk water poses, formal instruction can reduce the likelihood of accidental drowning by as much as 88%. Swimming programs are critical in communities surrounded by water, like Hampton Roads. Just ask YMCA members Felicia White and Laura Gardner. 

“We didn’t realize the water was so deep,” Felicia says as she recalls the day her six-year-old son, Austin, fell off of a dock and into the water at Charles Creek Park. Even with four adults present, no one was within arms reach of Austin. He was alone in deep, cold water without anyone or anything to hold onto. Scared and crying, Austin remembered what he learned in Y swim lessons: stay calm, tread water, and swim safely to the side for help. By the time his parents reached him, Austin had made it back to the dock. He was safe. “We live around too much water for our kids to not know how to swim,” Felicia explains. “We have to equip our kids with the tools to help themselves. Austin was his own hero that day.” 

YMCA members Kathryn, age 4, and Alex, age 6, were their own heroes, too, when their canoe capsized in Merchants Millpond last year. As The Gardner Family was finishing a two-hour excursion, their canoe hit a bush of thorns and flipped. Kathryn and Alex had just removed their lifejackets in anticipation of approaching the dock. No one could touch the bottom of the six-foot deep swamp, and there was nowhere nearby to swim to. Kathryn and Alex treaded water for over three minutes while they waited for nearby boaters to come to their rescue. Because of Y swim lessons, Kathryn and Alex knew what to do. “We live by the water”, mom and Currituck Family YMCA member Laura Gardner says. “We need to make sure our kids can save themselves. They were ready for it,” Laura says. “It was a true miracle.”

Nearly 87% of children with little to no swimming ability plan to go to a swimming facility this summer. Make sure your child is ready to be his own hero. Enroll in Y Swim Lessons and Safety Around Water programs today at your local family center.