The idea of a child's death is disturbing in itself, but the statistical reality of youth drownings in America is simply alarming.
According to national statistics, drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for kids ages 1 to 14, claiming two to three young lives every day. The fact that 88 percent of child drownings occur under adult supervision and 60 percent of victims are within 10 feet of safety makes the numbers all the more sobering.
To combat these statistics, the YMCA launched its Safety Around Water Program in 2015 and will provide more than 18,000 scholarships for free swim lessons to underserved children this summer.
"At the YMCA, we consider ourselves America's swim instructor," says YMCA Senior Manager of Aquatics Lindsay Mondick. "We feel that making an impact in drowning prevention and keeping kids and families safe around water isn't just an option for us; it's our responsibility."
The Safety Around Water program teaches two key swimming survival skills. This includes the "Jump, Push, Turn and Grab" technique, which teaches kids to calmly orient themselves if they fall into a body of water. The "Swim, Float, Swim" technique also instructs them to take breaks when swimming to safety by floating on their back to avoid over-exertion.
"We want kids to be comfortable and confident around the water, but also have a natural caution," says Mondick.
Learn more about the Y's Safety Around Water program in the infographic on the next page.