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SAFETY AROUND WATER

Teaching children how to be safe around water is not a luxury; it is a necessity. The YMCA’s Safety Around Water program can help you make sure they learn essential water safety skills, which can open up a world of possibilities for them to satisfy their curiosity safely.

What Is Safety Around Water?

Through learning how to perform a sequenced set of skills over eight lessons of 40 minutes each, the risk of drowning is reduced, giving your child confidence in and around water.

A typical session includes:

  • Exercises to help kids adjust to being in water
  • Instruction in "Jump, Push, Turn, Grab" and "Swim, Float, Swim," two skill sets kids can use if they unexpectedly find themselves in the water
  • Specific safety topics, like what to do if you see someone in the water who needs help
  • Fun activities that reinforce skills

Know the facts.

Drowning poses a threat to the health and well-being of people nationwide, particularly among children and minority populations. According to data from the USA Swimming Foundation, 70 percent of African American and 60 percent of Hispanic children cannot swim, compared to just 40 percent of Caucasian children. While fatal drowning is a concern for all children – it’s the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages one to 14 years old – African American children ages 5 to 14 are three times more likely to drown than their white counterparts.

Be Water Smart from the Start.

The Y’s Safety Around Water program teaches children of all ages and from all backgrounds that water should be fun, not feared, as long as you know how to stay safe in and around water.  

  • We teach fundamental water safety skills that include the concepts of reach, throw, don’t go; CPR and what to look for in a safe place to swim.
  • Kids learn what to do if they find themselves in the water unexpectedly:
    • Jump/Push/Turn/Grab: teaches a child to push off the bottom of the pool as they are submerging to get back up to the surface while turning to grab the side of the pool
    • Swim/Float/Swim: teaches children to swim a short distance on their front, roll over onto their back to rest, and then roll on their front to continue swimming to safety.


Teaching children how to swim and be safe around water is one of the most important life skills parents can help their children learn. It not only saves lives, it builds confidence. 

  • Research shows that participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning among children one to four years of age.
  • Participation in swimming helps teach children at a young age to strive for physical achievement.
  • Swim lessons promote a lifelong enjoyment of swimming, encourages healthy living and the prevention of chronic disease.
  • Learning to enjoy activities in and around the water nurtures social-emotional, cognitive and physical development.

The Y is “America’s Swim Instructor” and the most accessible community resource to prevent drowning.

  • This year, the Y will award scholarships for free swimming and water safety classes to 11,000 children from low-income families.  
  • To find out how to enroll your child in the Y’s Safety Around Water program, go to www.ymca.net/watersafety 
  • Through programs like Safety Around Water, the Y helps more than 9 million youth nationwide to “hop” health and achievement gaps by providing a safe to place to learn, stay healthy and build friendships.

Free Water
Safety classes
are available.

Please click the online registration below and search "Safety Around Water" for available dates, times and locations. 

Register Online