Water Safety Tips for Summer 2019

Summertime is on the way, meaning pool and beach time for many children and adults.  As we approach the summer, the Y reminds parents and swimmers to practice safety when in or around the water.

As part of its commitment to strengthening community through youth development and healthy living, the Y offers a variety of swim programs that teach water safety skills and give children and adults the chance to explore the many health benefits of swimming.

The New Canaan YMCA recommends children and adults practice the following safety tips 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.
  • 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.
  • Install 4ft or taller fence around pool and spa with self-latching gates. If house serves as side of fence, install an alarm to door that enters to pool area.
  • Teach children water safety & swimming tips as early as possible.
  • Install and use a lockable safety cover on your pool & spa.
  • Designate a “safety seat” or safe place in pool area where children can sit until they are allowed in the water. Teach young children that they must be invited into the water by an adult.
  • Appoint a “designated watcher” to monitor children during social gatherings at or near pool.
  • Install a poolside phone, preferably a cordless model, with emergency numbers programmed into speed dial.
  • Post CPR instructions & learn the procedures.
  • Keep a first aid kit poolside.
  • Do not use flotation devices as a substitute for supervision. Never allow a young child in a pool without an adult.
  • NEVER prop the gate to a pool area open.
  • Understand/learn the basics of lifesaving so that you can assist in a pool emergency.

In addition to the above tips, Josephine Rojas-Einstman, Aquatics Director at the Y, commented, “For young swimmers, being in the water helps to strengthen both mind and body; they discover how their body physically moves in the water, and children learn to socialize and solve conflicts with their peers in a healthy manner.”

As a leading nonprofit committed to youth development, the New Canaan YMCA has been a leader in providing swim lessons and water safety in the New Canaan community for over 50 years.  Rojas-Einstman added, “The Y youth swim lesson program is unique. As a recreational swim program that not only teaches children how to swim, but also strives to teach the whole child.”

While other swim programs focus on one stroke at a time, requiring a mastering of one stroke before moving on to the next, Y swim lessons work on a variety of aquatic skills, with the goal of mastering every skill and self confidence in the water.

Rojas-Einstman further explained, “Why teach this way? Every child is different, encompassing their own strengths and weaknesses. When working with children, confidence plays a major role; if he or she works on mastering one skill at a time, it can become discouraging. We’ve found that a child may not be comfortable with front crawl, yet is a natural with back stroke. Unfortunately, if this child participates in a program where they must master this stroke before progressing, the child often becomes frustrated and reluctant to continue in the water. The Y’s program works on each of the different strokes simultaneously so that every child has the chance to work on something they are good at; building confidence and a love for the water.”

The national Y swim lesson program is created with 5 major components, which are incorporated within each class level; personal safety, personal growth, stroke development, water games, and sports & rescue. 

She added, “YMCA swim lessons have something for everyone. Learning how to swim is the main objective, but if we also teach children self-confidence and to respect the water, then we ensure their safety. If we teach children what the water has to offer them by way of activities, we spark a love of the water. And if we introduce the sports that are available in the water, we encourage children and adolescents to continue to live healthier lives through exercising the whole body, spirit, and mind in the water.”

Aquatics programs at the New Canaan YMCA include youth swim lessons for ages 6 months and older, adult swim lessons, open family swim, open adult lap, therapy swimming, and the Y’s three competitive aquatics teams: the Caimans swim team, Aquianas synchronized swimming team, and the Whirlwind diving team.  To ensure that everyone has an opportunity to participate, financial assistance is available to those in need to help cover the costs.

The New Canaan YMCA offers a variety of swim classes to accommodate any schedule.  To learn more about the New Canaan YMCA’s swim programs, contact Josephine Rojas-Einstman at 203-966-4528, ext. 169 or jrojas@newcanaanymca.org.