Swimming Safety Tips

In the summertime, swimming is the go-to sport for kids. But they aren't always under your watchful eye. Kids might explore other bodies of water, too, such as an apartment complex pool, a creek, or lake where they can be at risk of drowning.

That's why it's important to talk to them about water safety. The YMCA offers these tips.



• Never take your eyes off of your children in the water, even for a moment.

• Appoint a designated water watcher so you know who is supervising children while in the water.

• While supervising, stay alert and avoid distractions like reading or talking on the telephone.

• Instruct children to never run, push, or jump on others in and around the pool.

• Have your child always swim with a buddy.

• Never allow your child to dive into the shallow end of the pool.

• Remember to use appropriate flotation devices. Inflatable floaties are NOT life-saving devices. Do not rely on them. Make sure to use life jackets (that fit properly) in lakes and rivers.

• Tell your child not to swim in any body of water without your permission.

• Teach children to swim at an early age and educate them about water safety.

If there should be an emergency: THROW, DON'T GO!

• Throw a life-saving ring, towel, or T-shirt to the victim. Jumping into the water should be a last resort, especially if you are not a skilled swimmer.

• Drowning victims typically appear calm, not frantic.


The YMCAs in 11 large urban cities collected data for a USA Swim study conducted by the University of Memphis. The survey found that of those children and teens with little or no swimming ability:

• 68.9% were African American
• 57.9% were Hispanic/Latino
• 41.8% were Caucasian:
• African-American and Latino youth are 3 times more likely to drown compared to their Caucasian counterparts


• Fear of the water.
• Lack of parental encouragement. Many of these parents also do not know how to swim.
• Limited or no access to swimming facilities.
• Financial constraints. • 

• Swim lessons are available at all Y branches year-round (private/semi-private, parent & child, group lessons).
• An income-based fee for membership and lessons is available to those who qualify.
In the fall, the Y will be offering a free water safety program for underserved youth.

Go to YMCAMemphis.org for more information.

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