YMCA Urges Water Safety, Offers Lessons


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The YMCA of Montclair wants to ensure that water safety is top of mind before jumping 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 YMCA of Montclair is encouraging parents and caregivers to reinforce the importance of water safety skills with the whole family.

“As ‘America’s Swim Instructor,’ the YMCA of Montclair annually teaches more than 4,600 children valuable water safety and swimming skills,” said Tammy Como, Executive Director of Aquatics and Risk Management. “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.”

In observance of National Water Safety Month, the YMCA of Montclair will be hosting its Safety Around Water Week program from May 20 to May 24. This initiative offers a series of swim lessons tailored for school-age children (6-13 years old) as well as teens and adults (14 years old and above). Participants, including non-swimmers and beginners, will learn essential water safety skills while building confidence in and around water.

To register for Safety Around Water classes, visit www.montclairymca.org/safety-around-water/. There is a nominal fee of $5 for the weeklong lessons.

As part of National Water Safety Month, the YMCA of Montclair is encouraging parents and caregivers 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 swim, make sure they are actively supervised. 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 are in or near water. Whether it is bath time or taking a dip in a pool or waterfront, make sure your children are always within arm’s reach.
  • Do not engage in breath holding activities. Both adults and 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.
  • Do not jump in the water to save a friend who is struggling in deep water. If an adult or 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 they are 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 an adult or child can help their friend without compromising their own safety.

The Safety Around Water program has been funded by generous grants from the Rotary Club of Montclair, Step into Swim, Kiwanis Club of Montclair, and the Stew Leonard III Water Safety Foundation.

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