YMCA Shadowbend in The Woodlands offering free swim classes May 19
THE WOODLANDS, Texas -- In Texas, drowning is the second leading cause of death for children under the age of 14. For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency care for nonfatal submersion injuries. Of the 77 child drownings in Texas last year, Harris County experienced the most with 9 children losing their lives.
To help combat drowning, the YMCA of Greater Houston will host a FREE Swim Class Event on May 19 to introduce basic water safety skills, to kids ages 3 and older, and provide their parents with important tools for drowning prevention.
All YMCAs in the Greater Houston area are participating, and parents are encouraged to go on-line or visit their closest Y to register their children and secure a spot. Walk-ins are welcome if space is available. The Shadowbend YMCA Pool will be the host in The Woodlands offering classes at these times, 9:30am – 10:15am and 11am.
“May is National Water Safety Month, and the YMCA treats the risk of drowning very seriously,” said Paul McEntire, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Houston. “We are looking forward to having parents bring their children to our centers and having positive experiences with our swim instructors. The more children who learn how to swim, the fewer drownings we will have.”
So far this year, 20 children have drowned in Texas.
ASSESSING SWIMMING ABILITY
“We find that parents tend to overestimate their children’s swimming abilities, so it’s important to have your child’s skills assessed. Often, parents realize their children need to work on the basics that will allow them to remain safe when they are in any body of water,” said Rosemary Lengefeld, district executive director of Aquatics at the YMCA of Greater Houston.
In addition to teaching more than 30,000 children how to swim each year, the YMCA has joined forces with the City of Houston Fire Department, City of Houston Health and Human Services, Texas Children’s Hospital Center, Houston Apartment Association, The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals, and the Texas State Alliance of YMCAs to form the Houston Drowning Prevention Coalition, which is dedicated to eliminating drowning.
During the YMCA’s FREE Swim Class Weekend, members of the coalition will provide literature and giveaways that focus on how to prevent drownings and perform water rescues. Members of the Houston Fire Department will also visit some Y locations to talk about drowning prevention and the importance of learning CPR.
“The YMCA of Greater Houston has identified eliminating drowning as one of its strategic initiatives,” Lengefeld said. “We believe that by collaborating with other leaders in our community, we can do more.”
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR SWIM LESSONS
In many underserved communities, staying safe around water can mean keeping kids away from water, but water safety and swimming are important life skills that need fostering in all children. This year, the YMCA will offer financial assistance for swim lessons to children in high-risk and underserved communities across the Greater Houston area.
In addition, the YMCA will offer free aquatics safety programs for all day camp participants who cannot pass its swim test.
The YMCA also provides free swim lessons to children at participating schools and apartment complexes through a program called Safety Around Water.
For more information on the May 19 7 FREE Swim Class Event, please visit www.ymcahouston.org or your nearest YMCA.
Also, test your knowledge about drowning and ways to protect your children by going to https://www.ymcahouston.org/water-safety- swim-skills- quiz/ to take our 5-question quiz. You might be surprised at your score!