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With May as Water Safety Month, Hogan Family YMCA is offering guidelines for preventing accidents in a pool, lake or other body of water. CONTRIBUTED

Hogan Family YMCA issues cautions for Water Safety Month

MADISON – School’s almost out for summer, most pools will open on Memorial Day and a cooling dip in the pool soon will be hard to resist. To remind people about common-sense behavior, May is observed as Water Safety Month.

Hogan Family YMCA offers classes for beginning swimmers, lifeguards and children’s more advance instruction. With May as safety month, the YMCA has announced five essential water safety tips.

“We know kids are anxious, and excited, to get back into the water this summer, but the risk of drowning is as prevalent as ever,” Jennifer Dykes said. Dykes works as Director of Marketing and Communications for Heart of the Valley YMCA.

“The risk of drowning is ever present. Now is the time for parents to equip their kids with the essential skills to keep them safe in and around water,” Dykes said.

As “America’s Swim Instructor,” the YMCA teaches more than one million children invaluable safety and swimming skills annually. With many pools closed during the run of COVID-19, the YMCA wants to confirm that everyone makes water safety a top priority.

Hogan Family YMCA encourages five tips:

* Never swim alone or without a ‘water watcher.’ — Teach your children that they should only swim in locations where a lifeguard is on duty or where a responsible adult agrees to watch the children in the water without distractions.

* Supervise your children whenever they’re in or near water. — Whether it’s bath time or a dip in a pool, confirm that your children constantly are within arm’s reach, Dykes said.

* Never engage in breath-holding activities. — Children should not hold their breath for a prolonged amount of time while swimming. Several severe physical side effects can result – even drowning. Inexperienced swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.

* Don’t jump in to save a friend who is struggling in deep water. — A child who unexpectedly finds a friend in deep water may have the instinct to jump in for a rescue. However, even if a child is a great swimmer, a panicked person will overpower the rescuer and easily pull him or her underwater.

* YMCA’s “Safety Around Water” – The program teaches the ‘reach, throw, don’t go’ concept of using a long object to reach the swimmer and pull him or her to safety. With this technique, children can help a friend without compromising their own safety.

For more information, visit ymcahuntsville.org/SWIM.

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