Before You Fourth: Water safety

Water safety

We know that for many of you, summertime means visits to lake, pools and beaches with your families. So, WFAA has teamed with the YMCA to offer you the best water safety suggestions "Before You Fourth" this holiday weekend.

At the YMCA of Dallas, getting a swim assessment for your children costs nothing.

"We will tell you what their swim ability is and what swimming lesson is most appropriate for them," said Jennifer Pewitt, associate vice president for Aquatics at YMCA's southern sector.

The first skill that instructors test for is simple.

"Can the kiddo comfortably and happily go under water and open their eyes? That's always step one when a child learns to swim," Pewitt said.

Next, experts examine how far the child can swim as well as their stroke.

"When a child learns to swim at the Y, we focus on some very basic skills at the beginning," Pewitt said. "We know that sometimes kids get into a pool when we don't expect them to get into a pool, and we want them first and foremost to be able to turn around, grab a wall, and climb out."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, formal swim lessons can reduce a child's risk of drowning by 88 percent.

"A child can go under water in 10 seconds," said Jesus Alderete, injury prevention program coordinator at Children's Health.

According to Children's Health, two kids die every day from drowning. What's more shocking: 60 percent of kids drown with an adult nearby. That's why any time you're around a pool, experts want you to designate a rotation of adult water waters, kind of like parent lifeguards.

"No distractions, no taking a picture, being on their cell phones, updating their social media," said Alderete, adding that adults should watch the water instead of the children who are moving around it.

"Typically, there is no splashing, there is no shouting. The struggle happens just below the surface and we know that in as little as 20 seconds, a kid becomes unconscious-- and then that kid is on the bottom of the pool, and then they're really hard to see - especially if there are other children swimming around in the pool," said Pewitt.

Here are the best questions to ask the host if you're dropping off your child at a pool party:

1. Who is your active water watcher?
2. Is there a cell phone nearby to call 911 in case of emergency?
3. Do you have proper safety equipment in place (like anti-entrapment drains)


Young children in or near swimming pool areas should be no more than arms' length from an adult at all times.

YMCA youth swim assessments are free. Contact your local branch for more information. 

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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