Last month, athlete Bode Miller’s daughter drowned and, unfortunately, drowning remains one of the leading causes of death for kids.
Connecticut Families heads to the Woodruff Family YMCA in Milford to share some important safety tips.
“Drowning can happen in seconds,” said Matthew LaPrino of the Lakewood-Trumbull YMCA.
The statistics are frightening.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 3,500 drown each year in the United States. One in five of the victims are kids under the age of fourteen.
“The earlier you get a child into the pool, the better off they’ll be and acclimated to the water,” advised LaPrino.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children should be exposed to swimming lessons and water safety classes by the age of four.
LaPrino said the association offers free programs like Safety Around Water.
“One of our strategic goals is to make sure every child is water-safe by the age of twelve,” he said.
It’s important to remember these warnings aren’t just for beginners.
Experienced swimmers can get a cramp or become dehydrated on a hot day.
“Swim with buddies. Know who you’re swimming with. Stay hydrated, especially on hot days like we’ve been having this week,” said LaPrino.
Kids should keep horseplay to a minimum and resist taking part in “how long can you hold your breath” games.
A small child should wear a Coast Guard approved life vest.
There’s advice for parents, too. Give lifeguards a hand.
“The parents need to be watching the children. Supervision is a must,” said LaPrino. “Stay off your phone when your children are in the pool or if your kids are at a waterfront, at a beach.”
At a private pool, be sure someone present knows CPR. Education makes drowning preventable.
“Because, if we’re safe, it’s so much fun,” said LaPrino. “It’s such a fun place to be to cool off on a hot day. If we’re safe, we can do that.”
Click here to learn more about the free swim programs offered by the Central Connecticut Coast YMCA.