Safety Around Water | West Suburban YMCA Newton, MA | West Suburban YMCA

Safety Around Water

In the time it takes to answer a phone call, a child can become submerged underwater and lose consciousness. That’s how fast a drowning can happen. Drowning can occur nearly anywhere with standing water: pools, ponds, culverts, bathtubs—even a bucket.

Water is a source of fun and recreation, but it can also be a source of fear. You don’t want your children standing around while their friends play in the water. But you can’t be everywhere every second. Teaching children how to be safe around water is one of the most important life skills parents can help to provide. It not only saves lives, it builds confidence. 

As a parent or caregiver, the last thing you want to do is limit your children. Don’t keep them sidelined. Let them be curious. Give them every opportunity to expand their horizons. When children learn how to be safe in and around water, it opens up a vast new world full of opportunities for them to develop self-esteem, discover new ways to stay fit and build relationships that can last a lifetime. 

Water safety is a community-wide issue. Help engage the entire community—to keep all children safe around water—by becoming an advocate in your neighborhood. Encourage other families to enroll their children in water safety programs and swim lessons. 

You might simply try to keep your children away from water. That is not enough. The Earth is 71% water—your children are 100% curious. It’s up to parents and caregivers to help them explore it all safely. Consider the statistics:

  • About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger
  • Drowning is the second-leading cause of accidental death for children ages 1 to 14
  • For every child who drowns, five receive ER care for non-fatal injuries
  • Of all drowning incidents, 61% occur in pools and natural bodies of water. 10% occur in bathtubs and another 9% while boating
  • Minority children are at even greater risk. Drowning is the number one preventable cause of death for African-American boys 
  • Risk for ethnic youth drowning in natural bodies of water peaks between 17 and 19 years old and the risk for incidents at swimming pools is highest between 1 and 4 years old. The majority of African-American victims drowned in public pools while the majority of Hispanic victims drowned in neighborhood pools (i.e., apartment complexes)
  • Among urban youth, 69% have low or no swimming skills. African-American urban youth ages 5 to 14 have a drowning rate 3 times higher than their Caucasian counterparts
  • While nearly 80% of drowning deaths are male, African-American males specifically have the highest risk of drowning