CHARLOTTE – In advance of National Water Safety Month in May, the YMCA of Greater Charlotte encourages children and parents to explore the many benefits of swimming, while also keeping safety top of mind. In Y swim programs, participants can enhance or learn new techniques, meet new friends and develop confidence, while also learning safety skills that can save lives. “Swimming is not only a fun, healthy activity, but an important life skill for all individuals,” said Ame Guy, YMCA of Greater Charlotte’s association aquatics director. “Drowning is the second-leading cause of accidental death for kids ages 1 to 14, claiming the lives of three children each day. Learning basic water safety skills saves lives, and is a great introduction to the world of swimming.” As part of National Water Safety Month in May, the YMCA of Greater Charlotte encourages parents to take an active role in fostering a relationship between their children and swimming, beginning with water safety. Following are safety tips to practice when in and around the water: • Only swim when and where there is a lifeguard on duty; never swim alone. • Adults should constantly and actively watch their children in and around water. • Inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket. • Parents or guardians of young children should be within an arm’s reach. • Children and adults should not engage in breath-holding activities. In addition to learning lifesaving water safety skills, children can increase their physical activity by swimming. Swimming motivates children to strive for self-improvement, teaches goal orientation and cultivates a positive mental attitude and high self-esteem. In 2015, the YMCA of Greater Charlotte launched Safety Around Water, a free program designed to educate families about the importance of water safety and provide area youth access to water safety lessons. The Y delivers the program in low-income apartment communities where pools typically do not have lifeguards. Visit www.ymcacharlotte.org/community/give-back/prevent-drowning.aspx for more information.
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