When we decided to move to Florida and knowing we would be close to or living by the water we were committed to ensuring water safety was a focus especially for the little guy. One of the first long discussions we had as a family was making sure that he completed his swim classes and that I also learned how to swim. He had taken some classes but had a scary experience in a class and was a bit shy about going back so we planned to revisit it once we moved to Florida.
When my family was invited to attend a Social Media Influencer Experience – Mommy Bloggers event to support YMCA’s Water Safety and Drowning Prevention efforts I was excited to participate and thought of how timely for us to participate. Upon arrival we were introduced to the leadership and support teams who welcomed us to the facility and shared with the attendees information and statistics on drownings, near drownings along with YMCA’s “Water Watcher” pledge and areas of focus for water safety and drowning prevention.
Did You Know?
1). Florida leads the nation with the most child drownings of all ages (under 18) by more than double the next closest state (Texas/Arizona) 80% of those involved children are children under the age of 5 – US Swimming Foundation
2). 3 children die every day as a result of drowning – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
3).88% of youth drowning incidents occur under adult supervision – National Safe Kids Campaign
4). 64% of African Americans, 45% of Hispanic/Latino, and 40% of Caucasian children have little to no swimming ability. – USA Swimming Foundation.
5). Formal swimming lessons reduce the likelihood of childhood drowning by 88% – US Swimming Foundation
6). Children ages 1-4 had the highest rates of drowning ad non-fatal drowning hospitalization -Florida Health
7). Broward and Miami-Dade counties lead the nation in drowning deaths among small children.
8). Last year, Florida had 88 people die by drowning and 75 were children under the age of 4, and more than 100 children have died in South Florida due to drowning since 2010.
9). For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Source (YMCA South Florida)
It’s easy to get distracted with our phones and everything going on around us so much that we could easily loose track and sight of children in the water. Once I get to the pool either with other family members or if we are alone I take a few quick picks of him at the edge of the pool and then place my phone away. I know that because I am not a swimmer I am more diligent in watching everything related to him being in the water because I know it only takes a second for something to go wrong. I also set the rules of engagement for him on what he can and can’t do as well as him being aware that he has to stay in the shallow end of the pool. We can all do better on reducing or removing distractions while we are around water with our little ones.
I was happy to take the Water Watcher Pledge to ensure we are all aware and alert of the dangers and fatal incidents that occur if we are not watching children when we are around water. I hope you will take the pledge too and urge your family and friends to do take it as well.
The Water Watcher Pledge:
I pledge to be a Water Watcher to keep kids safe in and around water by:
- Actively watching the children.
- Keeping my eyes on the water.
- Avoiding distraction.
- Pulling all children out of the water, call 911 & begin CPR in an emergency.
The YMCA teams provided demonstrations on Y’Fit Experience which included an instructor demonstrating fun physical activities to help foster and maintain physical activity while learning sportsmanship and sports skills. The Water safety talk covered the 3 Barriers of Safety- Adult Supervision, Barriers & Alarms and Swim Instruction. Kids were taught about the importance of wearing life vests, listening for instructions from swim instructors and parents were shown how to correctly secure kids in their life vests. The swim instructors tested the kids who were participating on their swim skill level and conducted lessons on floating, treading water, how to swim back to the side of the pool in case of an emergency and making sure you are listening for the swim instructor or lifeguard instruction.
Such a cool and informative experience. Our day was concluded with each of the kids and parents receiving really cool goodie bags with lots of cool gifts and getting to meet the Marlins mascot Billy the Marlin. Yahoo!!!!…..I was the lucky winner of the bag with 4 tickets to the Marlins game and a certificate for a “Free” full session of swim lessons. We had a great learning and enjoyable experience and can’t wait to start my swimming lessons and have the little guy complete his swim lessons as well.
Thanks to the YMCA for your continued focus and commitment to our families and communities.
All the best until next time!