Woman Swimming
May 16, 2024

National Water Safety Month: 6 Water Safety Tips for Kids and Adults!

It’s no secret at the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago that we love all things aquatics. Our friends at the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA) recommend that swimming should be the first sport children are taught. While swimming is a great exercise for kids and adults alike, it is also a crucial life skill. The sooner that youth learn about proper water safety and how to swim, the safer they will be!

We have put together six water safety tips to protect everyone this National #WaterSafetyMonth!!

Tip # 1: Make sure youth know to always ask permission before going in or near the water. 
All youth should fully understand the importance of water safety. Teach your children to get into the habit of asking permission before getting in the water to make water time safer and even more fun!

Tip # 2: Never swim alone without a water watcher. 
There should be active supervision for youth whenever they are swimming. Teach them to swim only when a lifeguard is on duty (and that the lifeguard is a safe adult to go to!). If there is no lifeguard on duty, you and your children should actively ensure there is a responsible adult that agrees to watch the youth in the water without distractions.

Tip # 3: Supervise your youth whenever they’re in or near water.  
Whether it’s bath time or taking a dip in a pool or waterfront, make sure your children are always within arm’s reach. 

Tip # 4: Don’t engage in breath holding activities. 
We care about you way more than we care about how long you can hold your breath! Both adults and children should not hold their breath for a prolonged amount of time while swimming, as this can be dangerous. 

Tip # 5: Wear a life jacket. 
We mean it! All inexperienced or non-swimmers should always wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket while in or around the water.

Tip # 6: Don’t jump in the water to save a friend who is struggling in deep water. 
If an adult or youth finds their friend in deep water unexpectedly, their natural reaction may be to jump in the water to try and save them. Leave this to the lifeguards! If swimming somewhere that an official lifeguard is not present, the Y’s Safety Around Water program teaches the “reach, throw, don’t go” concept of using a long object to reach for them, and pull them to safety. By using this technique, an adult or child can help their friend without compromising their own safety. 

As the weather heats up, we will find ourselves playing in more pools! As you teach your kids, or warm back up to swimming in deeper waters yourself, we hope you feel more than ready to tackle the water this summer. Make sure you and your family are as safe as possible this National #WaterSafetyMonth!