May is National Water Safety Month, a great time to talk with kids about basic water safety and teach them to swim.
NATIONAL WATER SAFETY MONTH
There is a list of basic life skills all parents instinctively know they must teach their children to keep them safe and healthy. It includes habits like looking both ways before crossing the street, washing your hands with soap and water and eating the right amount of fruits and vegetables every day.
For too many parents, safety in and around water is not on the list; and that’s something we need to change.
Fatal drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years old. Last year, 394 children died in Kansas due to drowning. The problem is particularly acute among minority communities. For example, African American children ages 5 to 14 are three times more likely to drown than their white counterparts. The disparity is partly due to the lack of swimming experience among these children.
According to a 2017 national research study conducted by the USA Swimming Foundation with the University of Memphis and University of Nevada-Las Vegas, 64 percent of African American children and cannot swim, compared to 45 percent of Hispanic children and 40 percent of Caucasian children. Additionally, 79 percent of children in families with household income less than $50,000 have no/low swimming ability.
The YMCA and the Greater Wichita YMCA are committed to reducing water-related injuries, particularly in communities where children are most at risk. During National Water Safety Month this May, the Y offers SPLASH, a program to engage parents about the importance of water safety skills and provide more children access to water safety lessons.