KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — As the weather is warming up more people will be finding themself at the pool or near a body of water trying to cool off, therefore it’s important to remember water safety tips.
The Tennessee Department of Health reports that drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury deaths in the United States. For children, the younger a child is, the more dangerous being by the water can be said YMCA Aquatics Director Amanda Roland.
“Drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 4. So, if this was a virus or a disease, it would be an epidemic,” said Roland. “If you look around where we live right now, there is water all around us. I mean, there’s been kids that drown in a bucket of water. So, you think about washing your car and that bucket of water. If you have a little toddler and they fall into it, they won’t be able to pull themselves out of it.”
That’s why the YMCA is encouraging parents to teach their children to swim at an early age.
“Most pediatricians want them to wait until they’re around six months just so they have good head control and also so their skin can handle the chlorine,” Roland adds that just like any other activity, practice makes perfect.
“It takes a child under two about 100 hours to learn how to swim. So, you want to make sure you’re getting them lessons, but you are getting them in the water to practice.”
Roland said adults need to make sure someone is always watching a child in the water.
If you have a pool at home, make sure there’s a barrier around it so children can’t fall in, and if you’re at the lake, you should always wear a life jacket.
“In rivers, you definitely have currents, and you want to make sure that you’re aware of how to swim. You don’t swim against the current, you swim with it and to the side,” said Roland.
These are just a few tips that can save a life and make swimming with your kids less stressful.
The YMCA is handing out “I am a water watcher” necklaces. On the backside, it gives you information on how to keep kids safe near water, including avoiding all distractions and keeping your phone handy just in case of an emergency.
The YMCA also teaches adult swim classes. To find out more about how to sign up for swim lessons with the YMCA, click here.