Swim officials stress water safety tips ahead of Memorial Day weekend

May 24, 2019 07:32 PM

GUILDERLAND - It's Memorial Day Weekend. That means lots of people will be uncovering pools and putting boats back in the water. That has experts stressing water safety tips as the summer season begins.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said drowning is the number one cause of death in children ages 1 to 4. That's exactly why the YMCA is teaching their "SAW" or "Safety Around Water" program to prevent kids from drowning.


Pam Mattson is the head swim instructor at the Guilderland YMCA. She said adult supervision is the best way to prevent accidental drownings, but she also recommends getting infants acclimated to the water when they're young.

"It's important for the babies to get into the water, because by the time they're 3 years old and the parents aren't in the water with them, they come to us and they're already comfortable," Mattson said.

The YMCA offers classes for kids as young as 6 months. That's exactly when Neha Singhal started her daughters in lessons. They're 8 and 2 now and both are now very comfortable in the water, but Singhal said it took a while getting her younger daughter there.

"So our 2-year-old was actually scared of the water when we first put her in, and we kept up with the lessons we were pretty consistent with them, and now she also loves being in the water - and it's great to see them both in the water together," Singhal said.

The CDC said between 2005 and 2014, an average of 10 kids died drowning every day. For every child who dies drowning, another five are sent to the emergency room with non-fatal drowning injuries.

The YMCA's SAW program looks to help address those issues. Mattson said kids enrolled learn about basic CPR, how to help a friend who has fallen into water and how to help themselves in case of emergency.

"We did 'swim float swim,'" Mattson said. "When they're swimming on their stomachs, they're turning right onto their back to take a breath, resting, getting back onto their stomach. It just teaches them to be a little more safe."

You can find more information about the YMCA "SAW" Program and national drowning prevention methods at the links below.

MORE INFORMATION: Pool dangers and drowning prevention | CDC: Water-related injuries | YMCA: Water safety


Emily Burkhard

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